Newswise — Melanoma in humans is on the rise, with one in 50 individuals likely to have the disease. By developing cell lines that grow readily in culture, Dartmouth investigators led by Constance Brinckerhoff, PhD have created a fast-track research tool that remains applicable to many scientists who use mouse melanoma as a model system. The findings were first published in May 2014 in Pigment Cell Melanoma Research (Multiple murine BRaf(V600E) melanoma cell lines with sensitivity to PLX4032.)

"The ability to study these mouse melanoma cell lines both in culture and in mice with an intact immune system is an experimental advantage," explained Brinckerhoff.

The team developed a protocol that allows mouse BRAF melanoma cells to grow readily in culture and to be transplanted in syngeneic mice. The cell lines are genetically compatible with a strain of mice that are immunologically competent, while human cells need to be placed into immunologically weakened mice in order to grow.

Since publication, there have been worldwide requests for the cell lines and Brinckerhoff's team is developing additional characterization of the cells. Brinckerhoff reports, "More than 20 labs have contacted us since the paper was published and the feedback we've received indicates investigators worldwide are seeing experimental advantages in using the new cell lines. For years, the lack of mouse cell lines that harbor the BRAF mutation has been a barrier to rapidly moving research forward."

This research was funded, in part, by: NIH P30 - Center for Molecular, Cellular and Translational Research (Cancer Center Training Grant CA009658 (MHJ/CEB); NIH T32 – Immunology Training Grant AI007363 (MHJ/DWM); NIH T32 – Molecular and Cellular Biology Training Grant GM00874 (SMS/MJT); NIH R01 AR-26599 and CA-77267 (CEB); NIH R01 CA120777 (MJT); The American Cancer Society RSG LIB-121864 (MJT); the Melanoma Research Alliance Development Award (MJT); Hitchcock Foundation Pilot Studies Award (DWM and CEB); and NIH R01 CA134799 (DWM).

Collaborators, all from Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College include MH Jenkins, SM Steinberg, MP Alexander, JL Fisher, MS Ernstoff, MJ Turk, DW Mullins, and CE Brinckerhoff.

About Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-HitchcockNorris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester, Nashua, and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at 12 partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is one of 41 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute's "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at

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NIH P30 CA009658; NIH T32 AI007363; NIH T32 GM00874; NIH R01 CA120777; NIH R01 CA134799; NIH R01 AR-26599; NIH R01 CA-77267