CFP - Virtual Special Issue - Theranostics

Patient-derived cancer models: from molecular mechanisms to clinical translation

Guest editors:

Christian Pilarsky, PhD
Professor for Surgical Research
Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen, Germany

Yana Zavros, PhD
Professor & Associate Head for Research
Director, Tissue Acquisition and Cellular/Molecular Analysis Shared Resource (TACMASR)
University of Arizona Cancer Center

Qingfeng Chen, PhD
Senior Principal Investigator & Associate Professor
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore
National University of Singapore

Xin Hong, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
School of Medicine
Southern University of Science and Technology, China

On behalf of the Editor-in-chief, Dr. Xiaoyuan (Shawn) Chen, and the Editorial Board of Theranostics, we would like to invite you to submit articles focusing on novel patient-derived cancer models as powerful platforms for dissecting molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and facilitating clinical applications involving personalized drug testing and cancer biomarker discovery.

The traditional experimental cancer models using commercial cancer cell lines have shown their shortage in capturing the heterogeneity of tumor cells derived from different patients with distinct genetic and molecular profiles. Furthermore, tumor-microenvironment interactions, especially the immune surveillance system, may directly shape the evolutionary landscape of cancer progression and metastasis, and ultimately affect the therapeutical outcome and clinical prognosis. The recent advances in novel patient-derived preclinical cancer models, including but not limited to circulating tumor cell-derived models, patient-derived xenograft in immunocompromised mice (PDX), or in mice reconstituted with human immune systems (humanized PDX), and various cancer organoid technologies, have shown unprecedented promise in deciphering patient-specific disease etiology and molecular mechanisms driving cancer progression, especially if they are combined with a state-of-the-art manipulation via genome engineering. These powerful platforms may significantly accelerate basic cancer research and clinical applications in a bench-to-bedside manner.

To highlight the recent advances in novel patient-derived models of various cancer types, we would like to collect original research and review articles to a virtual special issue. 

Manuscripts of original research addressing any novel aspect of patient-derived cancer models and molecular events during cancer progression, or research about cancer biomarker discovery and co-clinical therapeutic testing using these models are welcome. Additionally, review articles summarizing new development of patient-derived cancer models and their applications in mechanistic studies or clinical utilities during cancer treatment – which have not been previously reviewed in the scientific literature - will also be considered, but a pre-submission inquiry should first be made to the guest editor of this special issue. 

DEADLINE for the manuscript submission of this special issue is set for September 30, 2022. All manuscripts will be reviewed promptly, thoroughly, and fairly by the recognized experts in the fields within 2-4 weeks after submission. The corresponding authors will soon be contacted after the final decision will have been made.
Manuscripts for the special issue can be submitted online at (mark “Patient-Derived Cancer Models Special Issue" in the "Suggested reviewers" field to identify the paper).

Detailed formatting instructions, in particular, the formatting of references, can be found in

All inquiries should be sent to the guest editor at the above email address.

About the Guest Editors

Prof. Christian Pilarsky is a tenure-track Professor at the Department of Surgical Research of the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU). He graduated from the Goethe University of Frankfurt in 1994. He has published >180 research papers on cancer biology and translational studies in influential scientific journals that are widely cited and received several national and international grants. He leads the EU-wide consortium PRECODE, which investigates new uses of organoids in basic and translational research. His current research focuses on the establishment of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing methods in human primary cancer cell models. He has served as a guest editor in many journals such as Cancers, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental biology and others. He was a founding member of a German Biotech company.

Prof. Yana Zavros earned her B.Sc. with honors from the University of Melbourne (Australia) and received her Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Melbourne in the Department of Surgery (Austin and Repatriation Medical Center). She completed her Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. In 2007, Zavros joined Pharmacology and Systems Physiology at the University of Cincinnati as an Assistant Professor. There she pioneered organoid-based technologies aiming to generate patient-derived models to study underlying mechanisms driving initiation and progression of gastrointestinal cancers. In 2019, she moved to the University of Arizona as Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. She is Associate Head of Research and director of the Tissue Acquisition and Cellular/Molecular Analysis Shared Resource. The Zavros laboratory studies the mechanisms that drive gastric epithelial regeneration and Helicobacter pylori-induced disease using in vitro and in vivo organoid systems. The laboratory has also developed patient-derived gastric and pancreatic cancer organoids from tumors and biopsies, which are used in personalized drug screens to predict individual therapy response. Organoid/immune cell co-cultures and humanized mouse models are specifically used to identify the mechanisms by which cancer and immune cells foster an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.

Prof. Qingfeng Chen received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Science and Technology of China. In January 2012, he started as an independent PI running the humanized mouse laboratory in Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), A*STAR Singapore. He is currently a Senior Principal Investigator in IMCB A*STAR, joint Senior Principal Investigator in Singapore Immunology Network, and adjunct associate professor in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Prof. Chen is an awardee of the President Award of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gilead Sciences International Research Scholar, and Singapore National Research Foundation Fellowship. He has published >70 research articles demonstrating that humanized mouse technology can be used broadly in the study of human-specific diseases and drug development.

Prof. Xin Hong is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, the Southern University of Science and Technology. He graduated from National University of Singapore with a Ph.D. degree in 2013. From 2014 to 2020, he conducted his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), focusing on the biology and clinical application of circulating tumor cells (CTC liquid biopsy). He has published >20 original research articles on cancer biology and translational studies in influential scientific journals such as Cell, Cancer Discovery and PNAS. Prof. Hong is an associate editor for BMC Cancer and Frontiers In Genetics and he has served as a reviewer for multiple scientific journals.