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Cancer Breakthrough: Device Tests New Drugs In Record Speed

Cancer Breakthrough: Device Tests New Drugs In Record Speed

CIVO tests cancer drugs and finds new lymphoma treatment in just two weeks.

A new technology to optimize cancer treatment is on the horizon. Last week I wrote about CIVO, a new device able to inject eight different drugs in a tumor. CIVO eliminates many pre-clinical problems associated with testing cancer treatment and holds many promising benefits. This week, I will delve deeper into the workings of CIVO and the surprising findings of its pre-clinical trials.

CIVO’s first steps

The scientists started testing the CIVO system in animal models. They first developed tumors in mice by injecting lymphoma cells subcute (under the skin). This is a common technique to grow tumors in suitable animals that lack a functional immune system and so cannot reject the cells introduced by the experimenters.

After the lymphomas had grown, the scientists injected them using CIVO loaded with 4 different drugs – vincristine (V), mafosfamide (M), doxorubicine (D) and prednisolone (P). These drugs are commonly used for lymphoma therapy, and whose effects on tumor growth are known. The drugs were administered at the same time and their effects in distinct tumor areas could be followed simultaneously. As expected, V, M and D induced cancer cell death and blocked cell division around the injection sites, and P was ineffective alone but enhanced the action of V. CIVO thus seemed to work properly. And there were even new findings to come.

Tumor shrinkage

In a parallel set of experiments in mice, the researchers developed a lymphoma known to be resistant to D and examined its responses after injecting the four drugs. Their analysis confirmed that the resistant tumor did not respond to D, V and P, but surprisingly, it was sensitive to M. Accordingly, the systemic treatment of mice bearing the resistant lymphoma with M caused tumor shrinkage and prolonged mice survival.

This first analysis thus demonstrated that the CIVO technology is a potent method to determine the sensitivity of a tumor to drugs and it also allows the identification of new drugs that may be effective in tumor therapy.

Testing new drugs

To further confirm these findings, the scientists tested 97 additional drugs on the resistant lymphoma. Each drug was examined 72 hours after injection for its ability to kill cells and block their proliferation. The whole test was completed in only two weeks.

The analysis showed that five drugs were active on the resistant tumor, and one of these was a new drug. When the new drug was administered systemically to the animals, it caused tumor shrinkage during 25 days of treatment.

These promising results encouraged the scientists to go on and test if the CIVO device could be used in human patients to predict drug sensitivity of their tumors. Next week, I will write about CIVO’s success in human subjects and its potential future as a revolutionary cancer treatment for humans.

Klinghoffer, R., Bahrami, S., Hatton, B., Frazier, J., Moreno-Gonzalez, A., Strand, A., Kerwin, W., Casalini, J., Thirstrup, D., You, S., Morris, S., Watts, K., Veiseh, M., Grenley, M., Tretyak, I., Dey, J., Carleton, M., Beirne, E., Pedro, K., Ditzler, S., Girard, E., Deckwerth, T., Bertout, J., Meleo, K., Filvaroff, E., Chopra, R., Press, O., & Olson, J. (2015). A technology platform to assess multiple cancer agents simultaneously within a patient’s tumor Science Translational Medicine, 7 (284), 284-284 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa7489

Agnese Mariotti

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