These tests can… detect early signs of a developing cancer, help to monitor existing cancers and produce an individual profile of which cancer drugs and which natural substances can be used to achieve the best treatment outcome.
Circulating Tumor Cells
We offer general assays for CTC’s and for specific cancers, including breast, colorectal, prostate, malignant melanoma and sarcomas. CTC’s are breakaway cells from a primary cancer site which enter the blood stream and can circulate with the potential to spread the disease to distant organs. These cells can be isolated and identified, and there is growing interest in their detection for the following purposes:
- The early detection and diagnosis of new cancers
- Monitoring of existing cancers
- Prognosis – providing information about the risk of recurrence of a current or old cancer
Who are these tests for?
- People who want to actively engage in reducing their risk of developing cancer in the future
- People with an increased risk of cancer e.g. due to family history or lifestyle/environmental issues who want the opportunity to engage in a screening program for early detection and diagnosis.
- People with a current diagnosis of cancer who want more information about treatment options for them as an individual – including natural treatments.
Cancer doctors principally rely on the statistical analysis of large treatment trials, to decide which drugs to use for specific cancers. There is a growing interest, however, in personalized cancer therapy, which involves identifying those treatments which may work best for an individual’s cancer. Chemosensitivity testing is one method of doing this. Chemosensitivity testing involves testing an individual’s cancer cells in the laboratory to see which drugs demonstrate the best response. It therefore provides guidance about which treatments may be best for the individual in clinical practice. The test is a blood test. Tumor cells are identified and isolated from the sample for the following analysis:
- Viability testing of chemotherapy drugs
- Genetic profiling for guidance about targeted therapies e.g. monoclonal antibodies
- Viability testing (and identification of mechanisms of action) of natural substances which may be used as part of a complementary treatment strategy.
The results are presented in a written report which we can use to help guide your treatment options and choices. In addition, we can provide information about how an individual will ‘handle’ specific chemotherapy agents. Our genetic makeup determines whether we are ‘accumulators’ or ‘rapid metabolizers’ of certain drugs. This can play a critical role in determining how effective a specific treatment is likely to be for us, and how significant the side effects will be.