About the Resource

The Pharmacotyping Resource, located within the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department, supports the St. Jude value of “Embrace the challenge to create a new tomorrow.” The resource has developed a state-of-the-art imaging platform to test drug sensitivity profiles of a variety of pathologic tissues obtained from children with catastrophic diseases, with a focus on pediatric cancer. Directed by Drs. Jun Yang and Kristine Crews, this resource is supported by a team of researchers with expertise in high-content imaging, drug assay development, preclinical drug evaluation, and research informatics.

Pharmacotyping, i.e., defining inter-patient variability in drug sensitivity, is the essential starting point for correlating drug sensitivity phenotype to patient genomic profiles. Building upon our historical strength in this field, we recently launched an initiative to modernize our pharmacotyping platform to better align with rapid advances in cancer therapy and drug screen technologies.

Functions and Usage

  • Leukemia cells obtained from patients treated on clinical trials of the Hematological Malignancies Program are tested for ex vivo sensitivity to at least 40 anti-leukemia drugs, and genomic profiling is done in parallel  by whole genome sequencing and other assays.
  • The Resource has the capability to expand to additional tumor types.

Equipment: PerkinElmer Operetta CLS high-content analysis system 

Impact

The Pharmacotyping Resource leverages new drug screening technology to enable collaborative pharmacogenomics research that will translate into improved cancer treatment outcomes in the future.  The integration of tumor cell sensitivity measures with genomic data will drive forward pharmacogenomics discovery research at St. Jude and will guide the development of the next generation of pediatric cancer therapy at St. Jude and beyond.