Individualization of cancer treatment: successes and challenges

Souchelnytskyi S.

S. Souchelnytskyi, PhD, Associated Professor

Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Biomedical research delivered a new look on the medicine. New developments of biochemistry, molecular biology, engineering, biomedical research deliver new insights in the cancer mechanisms, new treatment methods and new drugs.

Medicine success needs new techniques.

New techniques are coming from biochemistry, chemistry, physics, molecular and cell biology.

More than 100 anti-cancer drugs are used in the clinic today, and new drugs are under development for use tomorrow. The challenge is to match a patient with the right drugs. The clinicians face this challenge with practically every patient, because of the limitations of diagnostics. Information obtained with current diagnostics is still far from predicting securely how the tumor and patient would respond to a treatment.

The recent developments of cancer research have opened for the qualitative improvement of diagnostics. We have developed Functional Molecular Diagnostics (FMDx) which is for the clinical use. FMDx tests responsiveness of individual patient’s tumors to different drugs by testing responsiveness of the living tumor samples in organ culture (Organ Culture FMDx), testing targets and modulators of the drugs’ action (Functional Biochemical Assays), and by unbiased testing of the tumor’s proteome profile (Proteomics FMDx).

FMDx is a set of assays performed on living and processed tumor cells following removal from patients upon surgery or biopsy. These assays measure in a real time how the patients’ tumor may respond to different drugs before the patient is offered treatment, and whether the tumor is of an aggressive type. The successfulness of FMDx is based on novel proprietary technologies.

FMDx assays are of 3 types — organ culture-based, functional biochemical assays and proteomics-based. The assays may be used all together or separately, depending on the clinical requirements. All 3 types of assays analyze a tumor with different methods, but for the common goal of finding the best treatment. This increases the confidence of the recommendations for treatment. FMDx has been used for diagnostics of cancer patients, and in my talk, Functional Molecular Diagnostics applications will be discussed.

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