Why going for a standard therapy if there are no standardized cancers?
The main problem in cancer therapy is that every patient and every tumor is different and reacts differently to drugs. Even worse, tumor cells rapidly change their response to drugs over time and develop resistances. What is needed is a system allowing to test which drug or drug combination works best on the tumor cells of a given patient at a given point in time. This is exactly the concept of TheraMe! We use microfluidic technology (a kind of miniaturized laboratory on a chip) to determine the best therapy options directly on live tumor samples from patients. Results are available within 24 h after resecting a tumor or taking a biopsy at costs that are significantly lower than those for standard diagnostic procedures such as MRI scans.
Unique selling points of our technology
Our approach has been validated in mice and we also successfully demonstrated the processing of human cancer biopsies
Validation of the TheraMe! Approach in a mouse xenograft model (mice growing human pancreatic tumors): Mice were treated with a drug combination that had shown most efficient killing of cancer cells in the microfluidic system (MK2206 + PHT427; purple bars). The size of the tumors (Y-axis) was monitored over time (X-axis) in comparison to mice treated with vehicle (blue bars), the clinical standard care drug against pancreatic cancer (green bars) or a negative control drug combination (yellow bars). At the end of the trial period, the tumors had massively grown in all groups, except for the mice treated according to the TheraMe! approach.
Heat map illustrating the efficiency of different drug combinations in killing cancer cells from human pancreatic tumor biopsies (tested in the TheraMe! microfluidic system). Dark red colors indicate particularly efficient treatment options. For each patient a more efficient treatment option than the standard care drug Gemcitabine could be identified. The fact that different results are obtained for different patients furthermore nicely illustrates the need for personalized approaches.