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The Science

Each cancer patient is unique and their response to therapy is very different from one person to the next.  Drugs that work for one patient may not work for another, even if they carry exactly the same diagnosis.

 

This is why each patient should be tested to select the most effective and least toxic drug regimen for them PRIOR to initiating treatment. 

 

Our testing, functional profiling, is a laboratory technique that measures how cancer cells respond when they are exposed to drugs and drug combinations. 

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Creating a Predictive Human Tumor Model

Cancers arise from cells that have learned certain tricks to enhance their survival so they can outlive their normal counterparts. 

These transformed (cancerous) cells interact directly with their micro-environment.  

Cancer cells "talk" to each other and to all the surrounding cells using chemical signals like growth factors and byproducts of metabolism.  Blood vessels, immune cells and connective tissues (stroma) all participate and contribute to the cancer process.

This is why it is absolutely essential to test cancers in their own natural clusters known as "microspheroids".  We isolate these three-dimensional structures directly from each patient's cancer specimen to test drugs and combinations.  

These microspheroids represent cohesive populations that interact directly with stroma, vasculature, inflammatory cells, and other tumor cells. Thus, the microspheroid recapitulates the human tumor environment.

By applying cell death endpoints (the most rigorous of predictive measures) to these microspheroids, we have overcome pitfalls encountered by earlier technologies.  Put simply, it is a real-time measure of which drugs cause your cancer cells to die, through a process called programmed cell death.  By using this approach, we try to determine in the laboratory the best drugs for each patient before they receive them.

And, for the first time, a truly predictive human tumor model that we call the Ex Vivo Analysis of Programmed Cell Death (EVA-PCD) assay has been developed.

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INFOGRAPHIC

How We Test Your Cancer Infographic

by Robert A. Nagourney, MD
Learn the process we use to test your living cancer cells in the laboratory in order to find the most effective and least toxic regimen for your cancer.