TumorGraft and Translational Oncology for Sarcoma - 1258757

Fri, 08/23/2013 - 13:23

My 11 year old nephew has a uncharacterized soft tissue sarcoma.... in the head that travelled to his lung. Removal from the lung was successful and chemo worked well. Two tumors removed from his head and both grew back within 60 days. Chemo and radiation were not successful. Struggling to find the right drugs/combinations and this is clearly aggressive. Does anyone know about or have experience with Champions Oncology? They essentially do a personal clinical trial by injecting the tumor into mice, grow it and test various drugs.

I saw from previous posts Dr. West was no favorable to the more rapid chemotherapy sensitivity testing -- but wondering about this. It takes about 6 months to grow the tumor and complete the analysis.


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Hello jocor, I'm very sorry your nephew has been dealt such a horrible diagnosis. I don't know that our doctors would have information on this type of cancer. They aren't specialists in that field. But I'll make sure Dr. West comments on your post.

Hoping for the best,
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Dr West

I'm not familiar with it, but in the absence of actually showing that people who do this testing do better than people who don't get this testing, I'm skeptical. I appreciate people's desire to capitalize on any opportunity to do better, but I see far too many companies market their wares by implying utility where it hasn't actually been demonstrated. Mice are remarkably less complex than human patients, so I would not presume that an animal model will translate to accuracy in predicting outcomes in real patients. I would have very little faith in this approach.

And as Janine suggested, I and the other faculty here really don't have much experience or any real expertise in caring for patients with sarcomas.

-Dr. West


Re: TumorGraft
I agree with Dr West. I recall Dr Manuel Hidalgo used to be one of the main proponents of this concept back when it was being tested in the early 2000's. He probably has the most experience in this area. But I think he left Hopkins for industrial research several years ago. In general, "autologous" approaches that culture live tumor cells have somewhat fallen out of favor in the past decade, due to its cumbersome aspects. Often the tumor cells would get contaminated during the collection, or die off during transport, or else patients progressed or died before the results could be used. It is viewed as a long and expensive process, for what ends up being information of uncertain value. Just bear in mind, as I recall, the tissue has to be collected fresh by a surgeon, and that it takes several months before any information is available. I personally don't know of any sarcoma doctors who use it, nor guidelines that endorse this. I do think it is advisable to be treated at a center that specializes in sarcoma within all disciplines (medical oncology, surgery, pathology, etc). Hope this helps, good luck.