The Road to Custom Cancer Care - Growing Mini Tumors


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Scientists recently discovered how to grow mini tumors based on an individual cancer patient’s specific cancer. This makes it possible for doctors to test out various combinations of drugs and treatments in order to find the one that a person’s specific cancer responds to best, without putting the patient through the actual testing process.

This discovery was prompted by the routine practice of growing bacteria extracted from a patient and then testing its response to various antibiotics. This new method, which only takes two weeks to do with a small sampling of cells from a routine biopsy, is believed to be a potentially cheap and effective means of personalizing cancer treatments without actually analyzing a patient’s genes, a method that can literally take years and is incredibly cost prohibitive.

Currently being tested on a 24-year-old man that has endured cancerous growths in his throat and lungs for nearly his entire life, resulting in 350 separate surgeries, this method indicated that the patient in question may benefit from a blood cancer treatment, which has never been used to treat his specific type of cancer. And, as the result of this treatment, his lung cancer has shrunk, the patient has been stable for over a year, and he only has to have growth removal surgery every 5 months which, although still often, is a dramatic improvement.

Although more research is necessary, the initial results of this new cancer treatment method are incredibly exciting. Stay tuned!

Additional Resources:
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1203055
http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/ap/bizarre-tumor-case-may-lead-to-custom-cancer-care