Frequently Asked Questions about Champions Oncology
The TumorGraft process and drug screening
Once the Champions TumorGrafts® have developed, Champions will test anticancer drug regimens on the tumor-implanted mouse avatars. The Champions team works in conjunction with your physician in choosing the drugs tested, identifying the cancer treatment regimen most likely to positively impact your tumor.
There are many factors that can affect whether your tumor will grow after being implanted into mice. The biggest factor is tissue quality and viability, but others include:
how much tissue we obtain
how aggressive the tumor is
how long it takes to implant the tumor into the mice (surgery location versus implantation location)
strain of mouse used for generating the TumorGraft
We are continually researching ways to ensure as many TumorGrafts are successfully established as possible without changing how they might respond to drugs during testing.
The testing process can be divided into two phases:
Phase 1: The first phase of testing covers implantation of your tumor into mice and assessment of its growth. It generally takes 6-8 weeks from the time of your surgery, and at the end of this period, we evaluate whether your tumor grew in the mice. Should your tumor have successfully grown, we move onto Phase 2.
Phase 2: The second phase covers expansion of mouse numbers for drug testing and the drug testing itself. This part takes about 8-10 weeks on average.
Please remember that each tumor is unique and therefore the time taken might be more or less than the averages quoted here.
Another way of asking this question is:
When a TumorGraft test identifies a drug that reduces growth in the mice, how often is that same drug beneficial to the patient?
We have conducted 108 individual drug tests in our TumorGrafts. Of the 79 tests where a drug was shown to reduce growth in the TumorGraft, 75 of those drugs also worked in reducing the growth of the tumor in the patient. This means that when the TumorGraft test identifies a drug that reduces growth, 95 percent of the time, those same drugs give some benefit to the patient.
Generally speaking, yes, we can test off-label drugs and drugs that are not typically considered for your tumor type, but we prefer to first try drugs that are readily available to patients and that have shown some clinical effect in your tumor type. The decision to test an off-label drug would only be made after discussion with your oncologist.
Because DNA sequencing and Champions TumorGraft® give very different types of information, it is difficult to compare them to each other and say one is better than the other. Instead, we think of them as complementary approaches we use to determine which drugs are most likely to benefit you.
DNA sequencing gives us information on the genetic makeup of a tumor, including which genes are different (mutated) from those found in normal tissue. This can help us decide which drugs we should be testing against your TumorGraft. There are some cancer drugs available that will only work if certain mutations are present in your tumor. The TumorGraft is the technology we use to test those different cancer drugs to determine which ones have the best chance of helping you.
General Patient Questions
As you can see from the graph below, Champions’ experience with different tumor types varies, but has increased substantially in recent years and continues to grow with each passing year. However, we also recognize that every tumor is unique, and so Champions continues to work hard to ensure that we understand as much as possible about your specific tumor, to better guide your treatment decisions.
Yes, we can store your tumor for future tests. Similarly to our live tumor bank, we can keep yours under defined conditions that maintain its biological features. This sample can then be used for future drug testing if needed.
You can contact a Champions representative for more information about our TumorGraft technology and how it can be used during your treatment. Please call 201-808-8400 (for our head office in Hackensack, New Jersey) or send an email to:
US – Meghan Lunetta [email protected]
UK – Geoff Muckle [email protected]
Israel – Aviram Sorogin [email protected]
Singapore – Jasper Ng [email protected]