Chordoma Foundation

New $25,000 prize available for pediatric chordoma cell lines

Since the Foundation’s inception, a key part of our strategy to advance chordoma research has been to ensure that scientists have the materials they need to study chordoma and test new therapies. At the beginning, one of the biggest barriers to chordoma research was lack of valid chordoma cell lines. Without these vital resources, many important experiments were simply impossible, and our ability to discover new therapies was significantly hampered.

To overcome this challenge, we set a goal of developing 10 validated chordoma cell lines, and making them easily accessible to the chordoma research community. Because the success rate of developing chordoma cell lines had been vanishingly small (only one valid cell line existed when the Foundation started), we knew many attempts using a variety of approaches were needed to ultimately succeed. To encourage multiple labs to give it a try, in 2010 we began offering a $10,000 prize for each newly developed chordoma cell line.

The prize has proven effective beyond what we had imagined, and we have recently exceeded our initial goal of 10 cell lines. Having these cell lines not only eliminates one of the main barriers previously faced by chordoma researchers, it also enables us to include chordoma in the work of other scientists and companies who may not otherwise have engaged in this field of study. Since starting our cell line repository, we have distributed cell lines to over 100 labs across the world. But there is more work to be done.

Certain subtypes of the disease, and therefore certain patients, remain underrepresented in our repository. While there is much that is common among chordoma in different patients, tumors in certain subsets of the patient population behave differently and may have different underlying biology. To ensure that all chordoma patients stand to benefit from advances in research, it is, therefore, essential to have a collection of cell lines that represents all of the clinical manifestations of the disease.

Thus, we now aim to diversify our cell line collection so that it more fully reflects the entire chordoma patient population. As a first step, we are focusing on pediatric chordoma.

With the help of a generous anonymous donor, I’m delighted to announce that the Chordoma Foundation is now offering two $25,000 prizes specifically for cell lines derived from pediatric chordomas.

This is the largest prize offering the Foundation has issued to date, and represents both the significance and urgency of this critical unmet need. It will supplement our existing $10,000 prizes for all other chordoma cell lines, which we continue to offer.

We hope this new prize will encourage researchers to bring their talents and insights to bear on behalf of pediatric chordoma patients, and create the cell lines needed to better understand and treat this devastating disease.

For the children and families battling chordoma today, there is simply no time to waste.

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Researchers: Please contact Chordoma Foundation Manager of Research Patty Cogswell (patty@chordoma.org) if you have any questions about the prize, or have a cell line you would like to submit. To obtain chordoma cell lines, email Patty or visit our cell line repository here.