In customized cancer therapy, each individual patient receives just the right therapy with the help of biomarkers to improve the survival rate and reduce side effects. The use of biochips based on nitrocellulose-coated microscope slides represents a powerful tool for identifying and classifying biomarkers. Photo: SCHOTT + CAPMM/Montage: dw
On the Way to Customized Cancer Therapy
SCHOTT Nexterion® nitrocellulose-coated glass slides play a key role in developing new diagnostic tests for the personalized treatment of cancer.
Virginia Espina & Claudius Müller
Most people know a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. Although great strides are being made in cancer therapy, too often cancer treatment fails or causes side effects with no therapeutic benefit. Scientists and treating physicians agree that the next revolution in cancer treatment will be individualized therapy. Individualized therapy uses characteristic biological indicators (biomarkers) to guide the right therapy to the right patient. The hope is that this approach will improve patient survival and have reduced side effects. A powerful tool for identifying and classifying such biomarkers is the use of biochips based on nitrocellulose-coated glass microscope slides. Clinical research trials currently recruiting patients are using Nexterion® nitrocellulose-coated slides to map the inner control circuitry of a patient’s cancer cells. The map highlights the regions of the cancer cell circuitry that may be causing the cancer to grow or invade and spread in the patient’s body. The diagnostic report is similar to a GPS map – showing the cell pathways instead of roads, with a highlighted route, which is the target for new cancer treatments. This information is used by the treating physician, under the research protocol, to select the best therapy for the patient.
The Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, U.S.A, creates and patents new technologies for translational research, and applies these technologies to individualized therapy, early disease detecttion, and chemoprevention. Photo: CAPMM
„The companion diagnostic market is exploding”The biochips printed on nitrocellulose-coated slides provide a way to measure many proteins from a patient’s sample in a single test. The biochips were previously used as a research tool, but have now moved to use in research clinical trials with clinical grade sensitivity and precision. As the biochips made and used by George Mason University are classified as a “laboratory- developed test” (LDT), and do not currently require FDA approval, Nexterion® products are presently for research use only, not for use in diagnostic procedures.
The biochip platform is used for measuring cell signaling proteins in human samples from patients with melanoma, leukemia, breast, lung, or ovarian cancer. This test is also applied to eye disease, such as age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Biochip data can be applied to complex clinical questions, such as determining which molecules, in which cells, are affected by the drug treatment, predicting treatment outcome in different patient populations, or comparing the effects of treatment on various tumor types.
“The companion diagnostic market is literally exploding now, and we can easily envision a future whereby any FDA approved therapy will require a biomarker measurement that is used to select the patients for the therapy. The use of nitrocellulose slides as the substrate of choice by which many of the biomarkers are measured may underpin most of these assays,” says Emanuel Petricoin, Co-director of the CAPMM.
Nitrocellulose coated slides must be of the highest quality because they are used for precious diagnostic samples from patients. For this reason, manufacturing at SCHOTT, the leading supplier of microarray glass substrates under the Nexterion® brand, must meet exceptionally high quality standards. Photo: CAPMM
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