(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A group of oncologists in California is going about a different way in treating their cancer patients, using technology that better pinpoints what chemotherapy drugs work best in fighting certain types of cancer.
The Wilshire Oncology Medical Group is conducting clinical trials with 38 patients, taking cancerous samples from them and submitting them to a Nashville, Tennessee-based lab, DiaTech. DiaTech then analyzes the specimen, running a microculture kinetic assay test, which helps determine which treatment options would be best for specific patients. The lab results are then relayed back to the doctors.
"What this test does is expose cancer cells to various chemotherapy drugs in the lab. We just need some biopsied cancer cells or - if we're dealing with leukemia - blood," said Dr. Swapnil Rajurkar, lead medical investigator for Wilshire. "I get the results back from the lab saying, 'These drugs are likely to work and these are not.'"
"This is invaluable information," said Wilshire president Dr. Linda Bosserman. "One of our biggest challenges is when we treat people we go by guidelines, but individual patients' tumors are unique and personal. By being able to find out what chemotherapies the patients might be responsive to, and what they are not going to respond to, we can save them weeks and months of getting treatment that is not going to help them -- all of which have side effects and will decrease their quality of life."
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