In 2018, there were 17 million new cancer cases, and by 2040, this number is predicted to grow to 27.5 million. Cancer treatment and prevention are based on the average person, and patients are typically offered limited treatment options—radiation, surgery and chemotherapy. While these treatments work for some, when it comes to a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to know that not all diagnoses are the same.
With the technological advancements available today, it’s critical to look beyond the standard of care and ensure everyone is receiving an individualized cancer treatment plan, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. So, what do you need to know to ensure a more individualized course of treatment?
What is Precision Healthcare
If you’ve ever watched a prescription commercial with confusion or had to ask your doctor what exactly a medical term meant, you’re not alone. Medical jargon can be hard to follow, but knowing certain terms and phrases can make a difference in your treatment and recovery.
Precision healthcare, or commonly referred to as precision medicine, simply means that a patient’s genes, lifestyle and environment are considered before decisions about treatment and care are made. Treatment options may differ based on your family history of the disease, eating and exercise habits, stress level or where you live.
What is Live Tissue Science?
Another useful term is live tissue science, a facet of precision medicine in cancer treatments. A tumor holds the knowledge needed to treat patients with precision, accuracy and timeliness. Yet, most hospitals still discard or compromise much of the tumor tissue they remove. In fact, most hospitals test on “dead” tissue, leaving pathology reports short on precision answers for treatment decisions.
Live tissue science is the process of testing tumor tissue that has been properly preserved to unlock new personalized treatment options for long-term survival.
Standard vs. Precision Medicine
Cancer is a genetic disease caused by changes in the DNA that alter how cells function. By testing a unique combination of genetic changes and tumor DNA sequencing, researchers can help provide information to a patient’s medical team to aid in their treatment planning. Knowledge of the specific genetic mutation profile and key biomarkers present helps identify targeted therapies and find precise options showing the most promise for a patient’s genetic makeup.
When SpeciCare receives live tumor tissue, our researchers can grow the tissue in a
laboratory setting and test it against as many as 300 known cancer drugs to provide individualized data on the courses of treatment that perform most effectively. This process turns the tumor tissue into the guinea pig in place of the patient.
Instead of prescribing radiation or chemo alone, live tissue can help move treatments beyond these routine therapies, including clinical trials, ex vivo therapy testing, clinical vaccines, organoid creation and more.
Our process provides an individualized clinical trial tailored to each patient, with results returned in as little as a few weeks. Every cancer reacts differently, so our researchers test the full battery of treatment options. Research has found by using live tumor tissue, we can advance treatment success rates to as much as 50%.
Live tissue science can also help physicians understand chemotherapy side effects. Researchers can test the body’s sensitivity to chemotherapy before treatment begins. It can also help clinicians evaluate effectiveness to guide their chemo choices and save valuable time when time matters most.
While cancers are classified into general types, at SpeciCare, we recognize that no two cancers are actually the same. That is why we are laser-focused on providing individualized solutions and answers to cancer care. There is no “one size fits all” cancer treatment. Some patients receive surgery, while others undergo radiation. Many receive chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immuno-oncology therapies. One thing is certain – each path takes its toll.
By preserving living tumor tissue from surgery or biopsy with SpeciCare, a patient can unlock hundreds of options for their fight against cancer. Patients can talk to their doctors about using the SpeciKit® collection kit, to preserve tissue at the time of surgery or biopsy.