DiaTech Test Predicts Most Effective Chemotherapy for Cancer Patients

Full story: Business Wire
The test identifies the most effective chemotherapy drug or drug combination to kill a patient's specific cancer cells. Read more

Since: Dec 05

Reading, PA

#1 Jan 15, 2013
What is missing in the article is that DiaTech is NOT the only one on the market that can tell an oncologist the most effective chemotherapy treatment for the patient.

They have also claimed that they are the only commercial pathology reference laboratory in the U.S. that works exclusively with "live" cancer cells and the only one that has the expertise and technology to measure drug sensitivity of specific cancer cells.

Perhaps they are making this misleading claim because they are licensed as a pathology laboratory, while other laboratories have been pigeonholed as immunology laboratories by the FDA.

DiaTech Oncology uses the MiCK assay which is their "brand name" for a caspases assay (caspase-mediated apoptosis). It correlates precisely with the findings in the DISC, MTT and ATP assays.

Following the description of apoptosis in the British Journal of Cancer in 1972, scientists around the world incorporated the concept of programmed cell death into their cancer research. What is less understood is the fact that apoptosis is not synonymous with programmed cell death.

Programmed cell death is a fundamental feature of multicellular organism biology. Mutated cells incapable of performing their normal functions self-destruct in service of the multicellular organism as a whole.

While apoptosis represents an important mechanism of programmed cell death, it is only one of several cell death pathways.

Apoptotic cell death occurs with certain mutational events, DNA damage, oxidative stress and withdrawal of some growth factors particularly within the immune system.

Non-apoptotic programmed cell death includes: programmed necrosis, para-apoptosis, autophagic cell death, nutrient withdrawal, and subtypes associated with mis-folded protein response, and PARP mediated cell death.

While apoptotic cell death follows a recognized cascade of caspase mediated enzymatic events, non-apoptotic cell death occurs in the absence of caspase activation.

With the recognition of programmed cell death as a principal factor in carcinogenesis and cancer response to therapy, there has been a growing belief that the measurement of apoptosis alone will provide the insights needed in cancer biology. This oversimplification underestimates the complexity of cell biology and suggests that cancer cells have but one mechanisms of response to injury.

It has previously been shown that cancer cells that suffer lethal injury and initiate the process of apoptosis can be treated with caspase inhibitors to prevent caspase-mediated apoptosis. Of interest, these cells are not rescued from death. Instead, these cells committed to death, undergo a form of non-apoptotic programmed cell death more consistent with necrosis. Thus, commitment to death overrides mechanism of death.

Labs that focus on measurements of caspase activation can "only" measure apoptotic cell death. While apoptotic cell death is of importance in hematologic cancers and some solid tumors, it does not represent the mechanism of cell death in all tumors.

While caspase activation is of interest, comparably easy to measure and useful in many leukemias and lymphomas, it does not represent cancer cell death in all circumstances and can be an unreliable parameter in many solid tumors.

Laboratories that measure only one mechanism of cell death (e.g. caspase activation as a measure of apoptosis) miss important cell responses that are critical to the accurate prediction of clinical response.

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