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The path to cures

Chordoma Foundation Labs

The only laboratory 100% dedicated to accelerating cures for chordoma.

  1. The path to cures
  2. Chordoma Foundation Labs

The need for our lab

The Chordoma Foundation was born from a sense of urgency to improve the outlook for those of us affected by this disease. To speed the search for better treatments, we fund high impact research, foster coordination and collaboration among researchers, supply researchers with tumor tissue and models to study, facilitate patient participation in research, and more. This has resulted in a growing pipeline of new treatment approaches moving into clinical trials.

Yet, there are limits to the pace and scope of progress we can catalyze within academia and industry alone — and that's where Chordoma Foundation Labs comes in.

What Chordoma Foundation Labs can do

We launched our lab to bring dramatically greater speed and efficiency to chordoma treatment development.

Chordoma Foundation Labs specializes in performing a variety of essential experiments needed to translate new insights about chordoma’s biology into well-designed clinical trials, and ultimately, into better treatment options for patients.

We offer these capabilities to interested researchers and companies to streamline their research. And we use those same capabilities to drive projects of our own that are either neglected or impractical within academia and industry. Here's what that enables:

Faster results

We help researchers and companies generate important data quickly — often saving months or years that would otherwise be required just to get started. And when needed, we can nimbly answer certain questions ourselves.

More therapies

It’s now possible to pursue numerous treatment opportunities for chordoma that would otherwise remain closed off, including repurposing existing drugs and developing new drugs.

Patients come first

The sole purpose of our lab is to bring better therapies to patients quickly. Without the constraints and incentives that are common in academia and industry, we’re free to pursue projects on our own urgent timeline.

A new level of agency for chordoma patients

When it comes to finding cures, no one has more at stake than those of us affected by this disease.

With our own research capabilities, we are able not only to catalyze progress by others, but to be active agents of the progress we desire.

No longer must the pace of research be dictated by academic and industry timelines. No longer must research be limited to that which generates academic credit or profit. No longer must we wait on others to take action.

Now we have a much greater ability to control our own destiny and to make the pace of progress match our sense of urgency.


The greater our resources, the faster we'll go

Each gift helps us take on the next experiment.

With sufficient resources, we can increase our lab’s capacity so that we can do more — and do it faster. Your support of the lab directly results in shorter timelines to bring new therapies into clinical trials.


Gifts will directly enable experiments in our lab for the benefit of chordoma patients.

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Rally your personal network to help us advance new chordoma treatments.

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To discuss other ways to drive progress in our lab, reach out to our development team.

Get in touch

Where the lab shines

We have the largest collections of chordoma cell lines and mouse models in the world and have developed deep expertise in performing certain experiments in those models that are essential to advancing many therapeutic concepts for chordoma.

With these capabilities, we're able to collaborate with researchers and companies with leading-edge technologies, therapies, approaches, and ideas — collaborators for whom it would not otherwise be possible to take on chordoma research. The net result is that chordoma patients are able to benefit from a much wider range of biomedical research advances. Our specialties include:

Frequently asked questions

Where is the lab located?

In Durham, North Carolina. It operates within BioLabs North Carolina, a state-of-the-art coworking laboratory that caters to life-sciences startup companies.

Can I visit the lab?

We welcome visits by our supporters and members of the chordoma community. We offer periodic public tours, and newsletter subscribers will be notified when those tours are scheduled. To inquire about scheduling a private tour, contact our development team.

Can I have my tumor studied in the lab?

At this time, our lab isn't set up to generate data that can guide individual clinical decision-making. Information about profiling of your individual tumor to guide care can be found here. Ideas for how patients can advance research can be found here.

Do you still collaborate with other research institutions?

Absolutely! The idea behind having an in-house lab isn't to replace work in academic and industry labs, but to give our collaborators a faster and more cost effective means of performing certain key experiments than is otherwise possible. It also enables us to pursue research that’s important for finding better treatments but falls outside of what is rewarded in academia or industry, like independently replicating published results or developing and optimizing certain research tools.

Have other patient organizations achieved success with their own lab?

Yes, we're following in the footsteps of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Lab and the ALS Therapeutic Development Institute, both of which have played a catalytic role in advancing treatments for their respective diseases. However, by taking advantage of coworking lab space we were able to start and operate Chordoma Foundation Labs with a much smaller investment.

I'm a researcher. How can I partner with the lab?

We offer the lab’s capabilities to investigators and companies in a highly flexible manner: from basic data generation (akin to a core facility) in support of publications, grant applications, or business decisions, to deep, integrated partnerships. Email our research team to learn more.

How can I learn more about the lab's progress?

Sign up for our newsletter and check out our events calendar for upcoming research webinars or to view past webinars.

Can I donate directly to experiments in the lab?

Yes! Gifts of every size help speed up our work to find better treatments. Make a donation here or reach out to our team for more giving options.

How is the lab cost effective?

  1. Minimal overhead. Within BioLabs North Carolina, we have access to fully equipped, state of the art lab space with no upfront investment or long term commitment. We pay just for the space we need and we have the flexibility to scale up or scale down our footprint to match demand and available resources.

  2. Economies of scale. By regularly performing the same experiments in chordoma models on behalf of multiple different projects, the unit cost of each experiment is significantly less than experiments conducted infrequently within universities or contract research labs. For the most part we only perform experiments in the lab that cannot be performed more cost effectively elsewhere (with some exceptions to prioritize speed, control, or other factors).

  3. Smarter science. Having our own lab gives us the ability to nimbly vet therapeutic targets or treatment concepts to inform go/no-go decisions about larger investments — whether in our own lab or via grant support to a research partner. It also gives us the ability to generate data in cells to inform more rational design of much more expensive studies in mice and humans, thereby making better use of those investments.

  4. Leverage. A key purpose of the lab is to make it feasible for more researchers and companies to pursue chordoma research. Investing a modest amount to answer questions on behalf of these collaborators often unlocks significantly greater investment in chordoma research on their part.