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Ex Vivo Assessment of Drug Activity in Patient Tumor Cells as a Basis for Tailored Cancer Therapy

K Blom, P Nygren, J Alvarsson, R Larsson, C Andersson

Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University;

ABSTRACT: Although medical cancer treatment has improved during the past decades, it is difficult to choose between several first-line treatments supposed to be equally active in the diagnostic group. It is even more difficult to select a treatment after the standard protocols have failed. Any guidance for selection of the most effective treatment is valuable at these critical stages. We describe the principles and procedures for ex vivo assessment of drug activity in tumor cells from patients as a basis for tailored cancer treatment. Patient tumor cells are assayed for cytotoxicity with a panel of drugs. Acoustic drug dispensing provides great flexibility in the selection of drugs for testing; currently, up to 80 compounds and/or combinations thereof may be tested for each patient. Drug response predictions are obtained by classification using an empirical model based on historical responses for the diagnosis. The laboratory workflow is supported by an integrated system that enables rapid analysis and automatic generation of the clinical referral response.

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