Pancreatic cancer refers to a malignant tissue change in the pancreas. After colon and gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the digestive tract. Almost all pancreatic carcinoma are so-called adenocarcinomas, which originate in the pancreas’ epithelium. Even in early stages, pancreatic carcinoma infiltrates adjoining tissue. Other than operative measures, chemotherapy is at the forefront of treatment. Since 2014, nab-paclitaxel (nanoparticle albumin bound paclitaxel/Abraxane®) in combination with gemcitabine has been approved for use for patients with metastasizing pancreatic cancer. According to current statistics (2014), the five year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is at 5%. Intense research is conducted to find new therapeutic approaches that aim for an individualization of treatment on the basis of a precise, molecular tumor characterization. These new approaches are called oncological precision medicine. Oncological precision medicine presupposes novel molecular testing methods that our center offers in the form of next-generation mutation analysis (MultiOncogen Mutation tests, MOMs) and genome-wide gene expression analysis (PANTHER-chip tests).
More than 20.000 genomes determine the tumor-biological behavior (growth rate, aggression, metastasis, response to treatment) of any given tumor, yet only a few find consideration in conventional cancer treatment.
While you can see less than 20% of an iceberg above the water line, the discernable amount of treatment-relevant tumor genes ranges only in the part-per-thousands.
New Methods of Analysis Characterize the Tumor
The PANTHER-test makes an important contribution to personalized tumor treatment as it provides an extensive analysis of gene activity patterns. The 3D spheroid chemosensitivity test moves away from the trial and error principle of conventional cytotoxic treatment. Cytotoxic treatment offers uncertain prospects of success while severely limiting a patient’s quality of life. Thanks to new developments in molecular genetics and bio-medicine, targeted therapies are moving increasingly into the center of medical interest. Targeted therapies focus on a tumor’s individual characteristic mutations or on the increased activity of cancer genes on a molecular level. Innovative procedures such as the PANTHER-test in connection with the MultiOncogen Mutation tests (MOMs), which undertake a comprehensive mutation analysis of the most important cancer and tumor suppression genes, decipher the characteristics of individual cancer genes that offer the key to targeted therapies. Such combinable CancerGenomeLandscape assays are available in different variations according to the problem at hand.
Isolated cell cluster from pancreatic cancer.
Nuclei: blue; tumor-specific markers: green (cytokeratin) and red (EpCAM).
Small cells with violet border (leukocytes)
Liquid biopsies are a new technique in which a tumor and the treatment tailored to it can be assessed without having to undergo an invasive operation. A mere blood sample is enough. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) or circulating cell-free tumor DNA (cftDNA) form the basis of liquid biopsies. Using special techniques, CTCs can be isolated and offer insight into a procedure’s success rates. Highly efficient molecular biological techniques allow drawing sufficient RNA and DNA from just one or a few of these CTCs to determine the activity of all of the tumor’s genes via the PANTHER-chip test or MultiOncogen Mutation tests (MOMs). Should it be impossible to extract tumor cells from the blood sample, the MOMs can be used to identify therapeutically relevant mutations from circulating cell-free tumor DNA (cftDNA) in the serum. This test is of particular clinical importance since tumors treated with targeted therapy often change their mutational pattern after six months. If this happens, they no longer respond to the current therapy.
Gentle Cancer Treatment via Personalization
The innovations in developing individual vaccines are bringing the dream of personalized, highly specific and gentle cancer therapy closer to realization. New diagnostic tools, pan-genomic PANTHER gene activity testing and EXOM-MOMs make a significant contribution to the development of individual cancer vaccines.
With regard to the production of such vaccines in particular, it can be of critical importance to cryopreserve part of the tumor tissue after an operation. Uomorphis[LvC1] offers such cryopreservation, either as standard preservation frozen in the gas phase of liquid nitrogen at a temperature of under -190°C or as LIFE-cryopreservation, in which the tumor cells are isolated and frozen alive in a computer-controlled specialized medium.
To determine the best and most promising course of action in your case, you are very welcome to contact Prof. Bojar for a personal consultation.