Millennium Post

Tailor-made cancer treatments to be a reality

In a development that could lead to personalised treatment for people suffering from cancer, Indian-origin researchers have devised a reliable way to grow tumour cells taken from patients in the lab.
The new technique developed by University of Michigan researchers is more than three times as effective as previous methods.

Researchers say it is a major step forward in the study of circulating tumour cells, which are shed from tumours and circulate through the blood of cancer patients.

They are believed to cause metastasis, the spread of cancer through the body that's responsible for nearly 90 per cent of cancer-related deaths.

The cells also hold valuable genetic information that could lead doctors to more informed treatment decisions and even tailor-made therapies for individual patients. And because the cells circulate in the blood, they can be gathered with a blood draw rather than a more invasive tissue biopsy. But progress has been slow, largely because the cells are rare in early-stage cancer patients.

The new capture and culture method changes this by providing a reliable way to get usable numbers of circulating tumour cells from even early-stage patients.

It grew new cells from 73 per cent of the patients in a recent study, more than three times the success rate of previous methods and a first for early-stage cancers.


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