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Tumor Slice Culture: A New Avatar in Personalized Oncology

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Technical Report,01 Sep 2016,31 Aug 2019

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University of Washington Seattle United States

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Cancer of the large intestine colon and rectum ranks the third most common and second most deadly in the United States. It affects Service members and their families as much as the civilian population. Sadly, approximately half of these patients develop metastatic disease i.e. spread, most frequently to the liver, resulting in premature deaths. Scientific advances have led to a much better appreciation of the genetic changes e.g. mutations associated with the development and progression of colorectal cancer CRC. Like most cancers, CRC differ from one another in their genetic make-up, clinical behavior, and treatment response. This holds true even within one tumor, which makes it challenging for physicians to choose the best treatment for individual patients. Despite the promise of personalized medicine to define the precise genetic landscape of each cancer, there remains an enormous gap between our knowledge of the genomic alterations harbored by a tumor, and how these changes affect the biology of the cancer and its response to drugs. In other words, there is a missing link between the scientific world of cancer genetics and the clinical world of therapeutic decisions. The outdated one- size-fits-all paradigm of prescribing chemotherapy according to conventional diagnosis must be abandoned. To bring us closer towards the goal of tailoring effective therapy for individual cancer i.e. personalized oncology, we will establish a new platform for testing drug sensitivity outside the body, using tissues directly obtained from the patients cancer in the form of a slice culture. Pieces of human cancers will be kept alive in an incubator for days without significant detriment to their viability.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Pharmacology

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