Every eight minutes, someone is diagnosed with cancer in Ontario1. According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the estimated total cost of cancer services in Ontario is 40% of all provincial government spending and the financial burden on families is between $500 and $800 per month2. With an estimated rise of cancer cases at 4% annually, the problem is escalating.
The overall contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival was estimated to be barely over 2%3. Generalized design and delivery of treatment primarily accounts for such low drug efficacy. Most of the drugs that have been developed against cancer definitely work, as a portion of patients do show improvements. The missing piece in the puzzle is matching the patient with the right drug. Both the National Cancer Institute and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research have instituted strategic plans to encourage and enable personalized cancer treatment.
Two technologies are currently available that attempt to personalize treatment;
one is molecular diagnostics and the other 3D tumor models recreated in mice.
Molecular diagnostic tests help predict the individual tumor's possible drug sensitivity or resistance by analyzing for known genetic mutations in DNA. While this testing is fast, it does not offer the reliability of the drug response prediction that is obtained through analysis in live animals. On the other hand, tumor analysis in mouse is very expensive and takes 4-8 months to complete (a time frame most patients cannot afford before starting treatment). What is needed is a personalized 3D tumor model that provides the required information before patient enrollment.
Metastatic tumors are generally small and numerous and are oftentimes not resected. Only a biopsy is performed to test for malignancy in such cases. There is no other model available to perform drug sensitivity analysis on patient's metastatic tumors other than testing for markers through molecular diagnostics.
To overcome such limitations, we designed a live animal CancerZTM platform that provides the required information within the general time of patient enrollment.
A CancerZTM is a proprietary 3D tumor model that maintains the biology of the patient's tumor tissues and retains all propensities to develop and manifest characteristics of advanced clinical disease.
Our platform therefore offers a unique opportunity to predict each patient's
drug sensitivity prior to treatment and effectively contribute in guiding therapy.
The CancerZTM platform not only enables rapid tumor analysis prior to patient enrollment, but it also provides the ability to create Cancer model out of the little tissues collected during biopsy of metastatic tumors. It therefore acts as a high efficiency investigational tool that enables personalized tumor drug sensitivity analysis.
- Cancer Care Ontario (2010).
- Longo, C.J., Fitch, M., Deber, R. B. and Williams, A.P. (2006). Financial and family burden associated with cancer treatment in Ontario, Canada. Support Care Cancer 14: 1077–1085.
- Morgan, G., Ward, R. and Barton, M. (2004). The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5- year Survival in Adult Malignancies. Clin Oncol 16: 549-560.