October has been a very busy month for our product development team here at Repositive. Following feedback from a number of our biopharma partners, we have worked hard to provide researchers with two brand new features on our Cancer Models Platform:
A multiple gene filter, allowing users to perform searches for models containing specific gene combinations or for multiple models containing different genes.
A gene variant filter, enabling users to perform more specific model searches by selecting specific genes and either viewing all available gene variants or specific variants for each gene.
This blog post will cover how our new platform features came to be, how these features can benefit the work of biopharma researchers in oncology and what makes them unique from other platforms. We’ll also be providing you with a sneak peak of what our new features look like, so you can see for yourself how useful they can be for your cancer model searches.
The story behind our new platform features
The inspiration behind the new features on our Cancer Models Platform stemmed directly from a product development collaboration with a number of biopharma partners, who we asked to provide us with information about the preclinical model search process and the biggest criteria for model selection. We also asked for honest feedback on how we could optimise our platform to better serve the preclinical cancer research community, and after analysing responses from a number of interviews and feedback sessions, we found that two key points stood out as the biggest priority for our biopharma partners:
1. The need to be able to search the platform for multiple genes simultaneously
“Depending on the design of a study, we need to be able to search for either 1 gene or multiple genes, therefore having the option to search for multiple genes would be useful.” - Senior Scientist at Top 20 Biopharma
2. The need to search the platform not just by a given gene but also by specific gene variants
“It would be good to get a panel with gene mutations, so we can identify whether or not specific mutations are present in a particular model. Having this type of feature on the Repositive platform would help us to understand what modelling approach to use when targeting specific cancer pathways, as these often involve multiple mutations present together.” - Associate Principal Scientist at Top 20 Biopharma
It quickly became clear that these two features would be essential in helping to accelerate the preclinical work of biopharma researchers, so we immediately set to work on figuring out how to make them a reality for our users, and after working hard on this project, we are proud to announce that the new features are finally live on our Cancer Models Platform!
How can these features benefit your research?
The current cancer drug discovery landscape is complex, with oncology constituting the largest proportion of clinical development spending (37.4% of total pipeline expenditure) and yet still experiencing a 95% failure rate from preclinical to clinical trials. As a result, recent years have seen a shift in market focus towards more targeted, patient-specific treatments in an attempt to mitigate the high failure rates seen across the cancer drug development space. With precision medicine approaches becoming increasingly prevalent in modern cancer drug discovery, there has never been a more important time to ensure that the preclinical process accurately reflects patient clinical responses, and it is therefore essential that the preclinical models selected for studies provide a good mimicry of patient genomic landscapes. This means that a manual ad-hoc approach to preclinical model searching is simply not enough, and a data-driven, bioinformatics-supported process is needed to help identify models that can provide translational results all the way through the drug development pipeline.
With our newest platform features, finding the right cancer models for your preclinical oncology studies is easier than ever, as you can now perform much more complex and accurate searches across the platform to find models that match your specific genomic criteria. Cross-comparing different cancer models for specific genes or variants of interest is an essential part of any preclinical oncology workflow, and these new features have been designed specifically to make this process much simpler and faster. Having the option of selecting both multiple genes and specific gene variants when searching for preclinical cancer models is an essential functionality that will help to provide greater confidence in decision-making during the preclinical model selection process and enable more translational results in patient clinical trials.
What makes these features unique?
We’ve designed our new features using a user-centric approach, meaning we’ve thought through how to make each aspect of their use as simple and user-friendly as possible. Our new multiple genes filter enables you to search for an unlimited number of genes in one go, meaning you can select as many options as you want from our collection of over 17,000 genes. This filter has an AND/OR functionality, meaning your searches will return models containing both your specified gene combination and models containing each individual gene, so you can see a more comprehensive overview of what models we have available on the platform with your specific genes of interest.
We’ve also added a filter that enables you to perform searches for specific gene variants – when adding a gene of interest, all variants are selected by default, but these can be easily deselected if you are looking to search by specific variant only. What makes both these new functionalities unique from other available platforms is the ease of use and speed with which you can perform searches for your models of interest, leading to a less frustrating and more productive preclinical planning process.
In addition, we also have a dedicated, scientifically trained team providing customer support on the platform from 9am-5pm on Mondays through Fridays. This means you can quickly get answers to any queries you might have regarding our platform, our models or our capabilities by simply entering your questions into the platform chat-box onsite.
Want to see our new features in action? Check out the images below!
Ready to try out our new search features? Visit the Cancer Model Platform now or connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get access!