Commercial personalized cancer cell profile developed in Taiwan

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Patients with stage 2 solid tumors could benefit from the world’s first commercial personalized cancer cell profiling, developed in Taiwan.

Taipei-based CancerFree Biotech Ltd has developed the technology that will help stage 2 patients and above by shortening the selection process.

The technology will be showcasing at US Bio 2022. 

This is the world’s first commercial Circulating Tumor Cell-Derived Organoid (CDO) culture system as part of the company’s E.V.A (Ex Vivo Avatar) technology platform.

The technology not only shortens the time taken up by trying different therapies, but also reduces the risk of side effects for patients who have not yet found an effective drug.

As only 20 ml of blood will be needed, this makes the system highly convenient for collection, especially from elderly patients, or where it is difficult to obtain tissue samples. CancerFree Biotech said the technology makes it smoother, easier, more comfortable, and convenient for both physicians and patients to find an appropriate drug therapy.

Founder of CancerFree, Po Chen, said: “When my elderly father was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, the process to treat him was nothing short of tedious. The lack of technology to optimize the process was frustrating, to say the least.

“Despite my background in computer science, I was adamant about finding a better way to help ease the therapy selection process.”

CancerFree Biotech’s CDO system develops a personalized patient cancer profile (called an ‘avatar’) by culturing their cancer cells in a lab to simulate the body’s response to a drug.

The system helps physicians conduct customized drug sensitivity testing with the patient’s tumor profile before treatment selection, thus speeding up the drug selection process and reducing the risk of drug resistance.

The technology greatly reduces the time needed to culture almost any type of cancer cell in under four weeks, as compared to other systems on the academy, which can take up to 24 weeks just for specific types of cancers.

The company said it isolated a very small number of circulating tumor cells that enter the bloodstream from in-situ tumors and culture the cells ex vivo using 3D scaffolds. This they said, increases the number of cancer cells they can work with to build a tumor avatar (tumor profile) of the patient.

The 3D scaffold mimics the in vivo bone marrow-like structure (the inside of the patient’s body) and replicates the environment for tumorigenesis (proliferation of the tumor) for the company to test drugs on.

The company says that because blood samples are homogeneous they are more representative than local tissue samples if the tumor has distant metastases.

It says this is why CancerFree Biotech’s innovative CDO system boasts high efficacy, successfully proliferating cancer cells ex vivo in approximately 90% more than 100 cancer types. It is also quick, as evidenced by its high efficiency, seeing 1,000 to 100,000 fold proliferation of cancer cells within four weeks.

Dean of TMU Hospital, Chiu said: “They have successfully utilized a breakthrough technology and have seen success in over 900 cancer cases. Furthermore, the system is able to be matched to over 100 types of generic drugs, making it easier for physicians to find an appropriate drug to match the patient’s tumor profile.”

Cancer types that can be tested for include all solid tumors, such as lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, kidney, bladder, skin, brain, sarcomas, and other various rare cancers.

Explore other topics: CancerGene therapyTaiwan

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