Andrea Bertotti MD
Assistant Professor, UniTo
Phone. +39.011.9933242


Andrea Bertotti
The 'Xenopatients' Platform for Experimental Oncology

Immortalized cancer cells exhibit a genetic drift, a biological compliance and phenotypic features different from original cancers in patients. Another drawback of the use of continuous cell lines is that the catalogue of currently available models is inevitably finite, and possibly poor for some tumour subtypes. Therefore, experiments with cell lines cannot recapitulate the wide heterogeneity of human malignancy that occurs among individuals on a population basis. One way to tackle this issue is to perform population-based in vivo studies by using large series of human cancer specimens directly transplanted into mice. This setting can be exploited as a bridgehead to unravel the genetic and biological complexity of cancer, as a prelude for the identification of novel therapeutic targets and unanticipated pharmacologic approaches.
XPErO provides researchers with a collection of liver metastases from colorectal cancer that have been systematically transplanted in immunocompromised mice to obtain stable tumor lines (xenopatients), which are available for any kind of in vivo/ex vivo study. This resource builds on three main cornerstones:
(i) The viable biobank of colorectal cancer liver metastases. An institutional effort has led to the collection and implantation of more than 500 samples of metastatic colorectal carcinoma. This resource allows us to select the appropriate candidates among more than 300 experimental models, based on clinical, biological, genetic or gene expression traits. This, in turn, is instrumental for achieving the appropriate statistical power for any kind of translational study, even if focused on relatively small tumour subpopulations. Eugenia Zanella, MSc; Francesco Galimi, MSc
(ii) The 'Xenopatients’ experimental platform for in vivo drug screening. We implemented a dedicated experimental pipeline that required the recruitment of ad-hoc personnel and the development of a specific workflow. The possibility to exploit trained staff and to apply robust standard operating procedures (SOPs) to experimental work confers high added value to research projects, in terms of both cost effectiveness and efficiency of the resources used. Giorgia Migliardi, PhD; Francesca Cottino, BSc
(iii) The Laboratory Assistant Suite package for data management and analysis. We developed a web-based bioinformatics platform that assists biomedical researchers in multiple activities, which range from tracking data generation and SOPs execution to the management of multidimensional molecular profiles and complex data integration (The Laboratory Assistant Suite or LAS, This kind of informatics support provides invaluable benefit by optimising quality and reproducibility of the experiments and by accelerating data mining and analysis. Alessandro Fiori, Eng PhD; Alberto Grand, Eng PhD; Emanuele Geda, Eng

LAS - Staff


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