Fred Hutch, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and UW Medicine Complete Restructure of Partnership

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Patient-Derived Xenograft Services

Comprehensive PDX Services

Our patient-derived xenograft, or PDX, team provides investigators with resources, technical services, study support and data access. We generate, revive and serially repassage PDX tissues in mice, supporting your preclinical studies and adding to our developing tumor repository.

A typical project with us involves a subset of the services listed below. Whether you are interested in one of our offerings or a full-service bundle, we are happy to answer questions and discuss your research goals and possible scope of work.

Schedule With Us

To schedule services with the Preclinical Modeling shared resource, or to get more information about how we can work with you, contact the PDX team lead:

Elizabeth Cromwell
PDX Lead Technician

PDX models capture the diverse heterogeneity of the patient tumors. This PDX model of pancreatic cancer was developed with Dr. Sita Kugel for her work on targeted therapies. Dr. Kugel studies pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and deadly types of cancer. Fidelity across passages is necessary for robust treatment studies and is monitored through routine morphological characterization. Dr. Amanda Koehne, our Shared Resources comparative pathologist, reported that the patient biopsy (P0, left) is consistent with the diagnosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The PDX tumor cells (P2, middle and right) have a similar morphology to the parent tumor and demonstrate moderate fidelity. Images by Dr. Amanda Koehne

Services List

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Sourcing of PDX Models of Human Cancers

We help to source and coordinate acquisition of established PDX models from third parties, such as Jackson Labs and the National Institutes of Health’s Patient-Derived Models Repository. We revive these models from their cryopreserved state, implant and serially repassage them to expand and establish the model, and then use them to implant cohorts of mice for treatment studies.

Sourcing of Patient Samples

We work with NWBioSpecimen and UW Medicine Department of Surgery to obtain patient consent and acquire human tumor specimens, and we collaborate with physicians and principal investigators within the Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium.

PDX and Xenograft Implantation (Homo- or Heterotropic)

Our skilled technicians implant primary patient samples or existing PDX models into immunocompromised mice, either subcutaneously or orthotopically.

Serial Repassaging of PDX Models

In accordance with our IACUC-approved animal use protocol, appropriately sized implanted tumors are collected by tumorectomy. This tumor tissue is used for serial repassaging into mice to establish the model and for further expansion and secondary implantation/repassaging to produce a study cohort all bearing the same tumor.

Tumor Growth Monitoring and Measuring, Record-Keeping, Data Entry, Tumor Growth Charts and Passage Charts

Our technicians monitor the mouse models by visual health assessment, weight monitoring and caliper measurements of tumors along with noninvasive monitoring when requested or necessary.

Tumor Tissue Collection and Sample Preparation

Collected tissues are used for a variety of research purposes, including quality control and characterization, pathogen testing (IDEXX), development of organoids, development of cell lines, analysis and data collection, cyropreservation banking and comparative pathology analysis.

Tumor Cryopreservation in Our Tumor Bank

We have short-term cryogenic storage space available in our core (liquid nitrogen rolling dewars), and we can facilitate long-term storage (liquid nitrogen with emergency backup). Our own PDX repository is split across two locations for safety. It houses 60 models and we estimate that it will hold approximately 100 by 2022.

Sales and Colony Maintenance of Immunocompromised Mice

NSG mice are our preferred strain for implanting patient samples, reviving frozen models and repassaging. Our breeding colony of NSG mice allows us to respond dynamically to patient and in-house PDX collection and propagation, all at a subsidized cost. These mice are also available to order. We maintain cryopreserved and/or live colonies of NSG hprt-null mice to simplify production of human-only cell lines from PDX-derived tumors. Other lines are available following consultation with the PDX program. 

Study Planning and Support

Before a new project begins, we work with you to understand your research goals and needs, to identify a model of interest, and to establish a scope of work and timeline. We build customized invoices from this scope of work. Our services include sourcing and logistics for materials and animals, and addressing all regulatory requirements. Throughout the life of the project, we provide regular progress updates, regularly share tumor monitoring data files and passage charts, and immediately communicate any emergent problems. All cost charging is done on a monthly basis.  

Grant Support

We can support your grant application by assisting with writing your vertebrate animal section, budgets and program description and by providing letters of support.

Access our PDX program grant description.


Our staff are also available to train your lab members on PDX procedures and to advise your team on the generation and maintenance of PDX models and on preclinical trial design.

Additional Services

To ensure complete project support, we engage with other shared resources, including Comparative Medicine and Pathology, Experimental Histopathology, Small Animal Imaging, Genomics and more. 

Questions about our PDX services or how to schedule with us?