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Promise and Progress - Personalized Chemotherapy

Reprogramming Cancer Cells - The Story of Epigenetics
Issue No. 1

Personalized Chemotherapy

Date: July 16, 2014

Clinical Cancer Research, January 2013

Scientists have used patients’ own tumors, grown in mouse models and then transferred to culture flasks to identify the chemotherapy drugs that will work best against the cancer. Cancer drugs are typically selected based on the affected organ or the appearance and activity of cancer cells under a microscope.  This process creates cell lines that very accurately represent the patient’s tumor and can be tested against any drug library in the world to pinpoint agents that will get the best response.  In one experiment involving a pancreas cell line, James Eshleman, M.D., Ph.D., Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., Ralph Hruban, M.D., and team successfully identified two drugs active against the cancer from a library of more than 3,000 drugs. 

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute grants CA 130938, CA 62924 and CA 122581, the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, the Stewart Trust Fund, the Lustgarten Foundation, the Mary Lou Wootton Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, the Michael Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, and the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation.

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