Many cancer physicians and instututions rely too often on a one-size-fits-all approach to chemotherapy drug selection. If some patients in a past clinical trial benefitted from treatment with a certain drug then all patients must receive that drug. If a patient fails to respond to the drug or later relapses a different randomly-selected treatment is administered. Quite literally it becomes a trial and error exercise in which successive chemotherapy regimens are administered to the same patient in the hope that one of the treatments will be successful.
Many physicians worldwide now believe better results can be achieved if cancer treatments are personalized, based upon specific biologic factors. These factors occur at the cellular level and are unique to each patient.
Dozens of published studies show that drugs found active in personalized cytometric cancer proifiling are associated with higher rates of clinical response, longer remission times, longer overall survival times, and more cancer cures.
Another important benefit of personalized cytometric profiling is that ineffective cancer drugs can be avoided. It spares you needless exposure to harmful side effects from drugs that can’t possibly help you. Importantly, valuable time is not wasted on trial and error treatments that cause your cancer cells to become chemotherapy resistant. Unnecessary costs from expensive but ineffective treatments are also avoided.
IS CYTOMETRIC PROFILING THE SAME AS GENOMIC TESTING?
No. If you research personalized cancer treatment approaches you will also find information relating to “genomic testing.” This is also known as “molecular testing,” “target profiling,” "gene testing," or by other names. Lately, it proponents have begun calling it "precision oncology." It is far from precise.
Here is an excerpt from an article apprearing in the January 25, 2017 edition of the ASCO Post (ASCO stands for Ametrican Society of Clinical Oncology). To view the entire article click anywhere in the excerpt.
"The practical case against precision oncology [genomic testing] is that it is unlikely to benefit most people with cancer. Data from next-generation sequencing of persons with advanced cancers indicate fewer than 10% have actionable mutations.
The only randomized trial of precision medicine, the SHIVA trial, tested whether genetic analyses and pathway-directed therapy produce better outcomes than investigator choice and found no progression-free survival difference between these strategies...
...The biologic case against precision oncology is that it contrasts with our modern understanding of cancer."
HOW IS PERSONALIZED CYTOMETRIC CANCER PROFILING DIFFERENT?
People often ask, “How does gene testing differ from Cytometric Profiling?” and, of course, “Which approach is better?” Here is our answer. In the only head to head comparison of Personalized Cancer Profiling with gene testing to date independent researchers found personalized cytometric cancer profiling to be superior to gene testing. We discuss that study in detatil farther along on this page but here, briefly, is their conclusion as stated in the published study results:
"Sensitivity and resistance profiles of different drugs used in vivo would...seem to be better defined by the in vitro chemosensitivity test [personalized cytometric cancer profiling] than by expression levels of markers [gene testing]."
In additon to greater accuracy, as found in the study, we and many others believe that personalized cytometric cancer profiling - our method - has far broader clinically useful capabilities than gene testing. Here is why:
Gene testing links expression of certain gene mutations within the nucleus of a cancer cell to a theoretical potential for susceptibility to certain drugs. However, in gene testing no chemotherapy drugs are actually tested. Other biological mechanisms of the cancer cell are also ignored.
In Personalized Cytometric Canver Profiling millions of your own, living cancer cells are exposed to the widest possible range of actual chemotherapy drugs. The true cell killing ability of each drug is observed and measured. This clearly pinpoints which drugs are effective and which drugs are not effective. Personalized cytometric cancer profiling (our method) can test many more specific drugs in more different classes of drugs than gene testing. This includes molecularly-targeted drugs, immunologic drugs, standard chemotherapy drugs, and anti-angiogenic drugs. Cytometric profiling can tests these drugs in various drug combinations. That is important because virtually all chemotherapy is administered in the form of combinations of drugs - and yet gene testing is incapable of identifying effective drug combinations.
Here are other differences:
Different drugs within the same general class of drugs - that is, drugs that are thought to work by the same mechanism of action - are known to produce widely varying patient outcomes. Gene testing looks only at the presumed mechanism of action and not at the individual drug itself, much less at each patient’s own cancer cells in the presence of each drug. Therefore, gene testing cannot possibly detect differences in activity among different drugs within the same class of drugs. In contrast, Cytometric Profiling accurately measures widely varying levels of cell killing ability among drugs that otherwise would have been deemed ‘equivalent.” It does this in a very logical and straightforward manner - by testing each patient’s living cancer cells against each, individual drug.
Cytometric profiling measures the net effect of all gene and protein interactions occurring within the cancer cell. It also accounts for important signaling that occurs between cancer cells. Millions of these processes are known to occur but most are not yet identified or fully-understood. However, it is still possible to account for these known and unknown chemical interactions by observing the behavior of the entire cancer cell when actually exposed to different chemotherapy drugs. Gene testing cannot do this.
Gene testing, identifies mutations that are thought to make the cancer cell susceptible to treatment with certain types of anti-cancer drugs. However, this overlooks many practical and theoretical factors. It also explains why gene testing so often fails to predict treatment outcome. Among the factors gene testing overlooks are the many types of chemical interactions occurring within the cell and among other cancer cells, as noted in the preceding paragraph There are also mechanisms within the cancer cell that can exclude drugs entirely or that pump drugs out of the cancer cell before they can work. Gene testing cannot account for this. Cytometric profiling tests the cancer cell as it actually functions and so these mechanisms are accounted for accurately.
Personalized cytometric cancer profiling tests new gene-targeted agents - and it does so in a way that is more direct than gene testing. Click here to see why that is important.
Cytometric profiling also has the proven ability to identify synergy that can occur in rationally-selected drug combinations. Drugs that are only moderately active as single agents sometimes become extremely effective when combined with certain other agents. Cytometric profiling can pinpoint these drug combinations - gene testing cannot.
Gene testing cannot show if you are likely to benefit from treatments involving promising new immunologic/biologic agents. Cytometric profiling can.
Dr. Weisenthal and the Weisenthal Cancer Group apply the only technology capable of assessing the effectiveness of new anti-vascular agents (such as Avastin© and others) in mixed-cell micro-clusters. No gene test can do this. This patented anti-vascular drug profiling technology was invented by Larry Weisenthal, M.D., Ph.D. and is exclusive to Weisenthal Cancer Group. (To read more about it, click here.)
For the reasons outlined above many physicians who use our tests to design treatments for their patients view molecular testing only as an adjunct to cytometric cancer cell profiling and not as an equivalent method on its own.
It is likely that most physicians are not fully-aware of the many differences that exist between gene testing and cytometric profiling and how these differences dramatically affect the accuracy and usefulness of the information provided by the different tests. He or she may not be familiar with the extensive body of medical literature that supports the use of cytometric profiling. That is why we encourage physicians and patients to contact us. We welcome the opportunity to answer questions and discuss objective data from dozens of published clinical studies that show our laboratory tests are accurate and that our test results are clinically useful.
A CLINICAL STUDY SHOWS CYTOMETRIC PROFILING IS SUPERIOR TO GENE TESTING
In the only head-to-head study of gene testing (molecular profiling) versus cytometric profiling to date, cytometric profiling was found to be highly relevant - 90% concordance with treatment outcome - while gene testing was found to be considerably less relevant (0%, 25%, or 75%, depending upon which genes were studied). This rigorous, independently-conducted study was published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. For more information about this study and its findings - and about gene testing versus personalized cytometric profiling, please click here.
PROVEN CYTOMETRIC PROFILING ACCURACY IN NUMEROUS STUDIESIn over 100 separate, published clinical studies, personalized cancer cytometrics, using cell death-based assays, accurately and reproducibly measured drug-induced cell death and correlated with individual patient chemotherapy response and survival. Overall, the studies found that drugs that successfully killed patients’ cancer cells in cytometric profiling tests were 7.5 times more likely to provide clinical benefit and prolong the lives of cancer patients than drugs identified in advance by the tests as ineffective for those patients.
PERSONALIZING YOUR TREATMENT
Thousands of patients around the world have benefitted from personalized therapy selection provided by Dr. Weisenthal, an NCI-trained medical oncologist and extensively-published cytometric profiling pioneer. Dr. Weisenthal is widely-acknowledged as the world’s leading expert in this field. He personally leads his team in each patient’s cytometric profiling study - from beginning to end. His methods are rigorous and the extent of his analysis far exceeds that which occurs at other labs.
Specimen processing, disaggregation, and concentration, drug panel selection, drug concentrations, cell incubation environments, cell exposure times, assay take-down and slide preparation, data analysis, and assay reporting are all performed precisely and with uncompromising attention to detail.
Each patient receives the benefit of parallel testing in 3 to 5 separate cytometric profiling technologies for greater test accuracy. All laboratory results are benchmarked though statistical analysis involving the most well-characterized cytometric cancer profiling database in existence.
Dr. Weisenthal personally examines and interprets each microscope slide, analyzes and calculates all test data, and recommends the personalized treatment plan which offers each patient the highest probability for success. Typically, he devotes over eight hours to each patient’s cytometric profiling analysis.
In a new era of personalized medicine, cytometric profiling is a superior approach. Nobody performs it more comprehensively, more personally, and with greater experience and expertise than Dr. Weisenthal.
To learn more, please phone our laboratory for a no-obligation discussion with Connie Rueff, M.T., Laboratory Manager. All callers are accorded patience, compassion, and complete confidentiality. (714) 596-2100.
This website is owned and administered solely by the Weisenthal Cancer Group, which provides a laboratory testing method called Personalized Cytometric Cancer Profiling. Weisenthal Cancer Group accepts no financial support from any drug company, medical equipment manufacturer, insurance carrier, professional organization, or hospital group. We do not administer treatments nor do we derive any benefit, financial or otherwise, from recommending any specific treatment. Our treatment recommendations are free from outside influence, obligation, research interest, or institutional bias.