Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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High throughput rapid technique developed for identifying drugs effective against cancer cells

25 September 2020

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It’s a race against time, trying to solve a difficult puzzle while its pieces deteriorate in your hands. Samples taken from cancer patients rapidly alter once they’re removed from the body, but most tests aimed at identifying which treatment might work best for a particular patient can take days, so the results don’t always match up with the situation inside the body. To tackle this problem and provide more accurate information, researchers have developed a new technique to test fresh samples within 24 hours of extraction. The approach was able to observe whether many different treatments had an effect on mouse cancer cells (such as those pictured), and identified treatments that shrunk breast and colon tumours that conventional tests would have missed. This rapid testing will help identify the most suitable treatment for any individual patient, which is crucial because every cancer is unique, and each responds differently to treatments.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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