The Princess Margaret Living Biobank (PMLB)

University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Support resources and services for the use of annotated patient-derived (PD) models including xenografts (PDX) and organoids (PDO) models for research that make an impact in precision cancer medicine.

Areas of expertise

The Princess Margaret Living Biobank (PMLB) is the next generation of biobanks. Beyond primary tissue banking, we expand tumors in immune-deficient mice to cryo-preserve tumors as a renewable resource. Patient-derived models are increasingly recognized as clinically more relevant models to identify the phenotype-genotype association in patient tumors. During early propagation phases, patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDXs) in immune-deficient mouse hosts and organoids (PDO) embedded in Matrigel models mirror the histopathological features of the original patient tumors closely. The PMLB consists of two teams with the expertise to support PDX and PDO models and their combined complimentary use for research studies.

PM Living Biobank (PMLB) is a coordinated effort of researchers and clinicians at UHN to support establishing and using patient-derived tumor models and associated data as a shared resource for research studies. The models are made available following standard operating procedures and quality test requirements, they are annotated with essential clinic-pathological data, and some are molecularly profiled.

The biobank offers robust methods and scientific expertise for PDX studies. The distribution of PDX models includes cryopreserved tissues and derivatives for drug or biomarker discovery studies. We also provide fee-for-service and turnkey services (e.g., model establishment, drug screen) and training.

The availability of annotated models at the clinic-pathological level includes comprehensive molecular profiling that enables researchers to perform preclinical basket oncology trials at a faster rate. We offer a robust preclinical testing platform with more treatment matrixes and unlimited tumor derivatives for studies of the mechanism of action and biomarker discovery compared to clinical trials.

Research services

Together with Princess Margaret researchers, The Princess Margaret Living Biobank expertise spans the establishment of >1000 PDX and >140 organoid models across >7 common tumour types including lung (>150), pancreas (>100), colon (60), ovarian (40), and breast (55), to guide experimental protocols and perform research studies using standard operating protocols.

All models established at UHN use informed consents for future research and protocols that have been approved by the UHN Research Ethics Board (REB).

Sectors of application
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
Equipment Function
CryoProducts Planer Kryo 360 Controlled Rate Biological Freezers Biological programmable cryopreservation freezer for ensuring high integrity for human viable cells banking.
Studylog Animal Study Workflow Software (v3) Studylog is a laboratory information database and management system to design animal-based experiments, and collect, analyze and report data.
Central computer station For experiment planning and reviewing data.
Laptops For data collection.
Sylvac Ultra-Cal VI Electronic Bluetooth Calipers 6”/150 mm digital calipers. Data of tumor size measurements are recorded in real-time in the Studylog database.
FX-Series Digital Analytical Balance 122 grams with pan. Data of animal weights are recorded in real-time in the Studylog database.