This testing, called functional profiling, exposes living cancer cells from individual patients to chemotherapy drugs, targeted agents and combinations.
The use of this testing enables the patient’s treating physician to prescribe those agents with the highest probability of improving the patient’s outcome and minimizing unnecessary toxic therapies.
To find the most effective treatment for you, living tumor cells are collected during biopsy or surgery.
An analysis of a sample of your living cancer cells shows which drugs kill the cancer cells (these cells are “sensitive” to these drugs) and which ones do NOT (these cancer cells are “resistant” to these drugs).
Drug panels are selected for each patient based on diagnosis and treatment history.
We can test most types of cancers, solid and hematologic (blood).
To ensure the accuracy of our results, the patient should generally be 2-3 weeks outside of any recent chemotherapy at the time of specimen collection. Recent treatment exposure may interfere with the accuracy of the lab results.
Samples are sent to us from all over the US and internationally.
If you have any questions or to order a specimen transportation kit, please call us at 800-542-4357 to discuss your situation. It's important to call us BEFORE your biopsy or surgery.
Since the test involves living cancer cells, the samples MUST arrive in a very timely manner to our laboratory, within 24-36 hours.
If you would like to come to Southern California to have your sample collected, we will be happy to coordinate sample collection procedures with our surgical/hospital colleagues.
Once the sample is received in our laboratory, results are generally available within 7 days.
Dr. Nagourney is also available for consultations. See the information below:
An onsite clinical consultation with Dr. Nagourney includes an overall assessment of the patient’s condition, a physical examination, as well as review of medical records and therapies to date.
A comprehensive interview is conducted to determine the philosophy and treatment goals of each patient with discussion focused on future treatment options.
If you cannot visit our office in Southern California, we may be able to arrange a phone consultation. This would cover the same items as a clinical consultation except without the physical examination.
The fee for the functional profile depends upon the quantity and complexity of the agents tested.
The larger the sample that we receive, the more drugs and combinations we can test.
Payment is required at the time of service but we will file a claim with your insurance carrier in an attempt to help you recover your out-of-pocket expense.
As with some medical services, Medicare/HMOs do not deem this a covered service. Many private indemnity plans will cover part or all of the analysis.
If you cannot afford the cost of the functional profile test, you may apply to the Vanguard Cancer Foundation for financial assistance.
They may be able to help cover part or all of the cost of the laboratory analysis.
Assistance is based entirely on financial need and must be approved prior to receipt of sample in the laboratory.
The larger the sample that we receive, the more drugs and combinations we can test. Biopsies sometimes contain necrotic (dead) tissue, fat, and non-cancerous cells so the more cells we get the better.
Note: Solid tumor “Needle biopsies” usually do NOT contain enough cancer cells for our purposes and we do not encourage them unless pre-arranged with our physicians.
Occasionally, we are unable to provide an adequate analysis because a specimen that is expected to contain malignant cells, may contain too few to setup a reliable analysis.
In these cases, there is a $500 sample processing fee to cover the cost of specimen transportation, laboratory personnel time, reagents and specimen processing.
Specimen transportation kits which include culture media tube, transport box and return FedEx packing supplies can be ordered by contacting us at (800) 542-4357.
If a specimen transportation kit is sent out for use and is not returned with a cancer sample for analysis, a specimen kit fee will be charged to cover the cost of supplies, overnight shipping and handling.
If a cancer sample is submitted, the cost of the kit is included in the test price.