Personalized Oncology

Champions Personalized Oncology Services—There may be hope for your specific cancer. 

Every person’s cancer has its own distinct set of molecular changes, making every patient’s tumor unique.

The era of personalized oncology medicine has the potential to fulfill the promise of delivering the right dose for the right indication to the right patient at the right time.

Imagine your oncologist knowing before he or she makes a treatment decision how well your cancer may respond to a particular therapy. Tools that enable a more informed treatment decision do exist and may help individualize your cancer care.

Your personalized Champions TumorGraft® patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model could improve your outcome and extend your life by predicting which cancer treatment should effectively shrink your tumor. By growing your tumor in a mouse avatar model, your PDX will closely simulate your tumor’s response to each of your cancer treatment options.

Champions TumorGraft PDX models have been successfully tested in most tumor types, including solid and hematological malignancies:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal/Stomach/Esophageal
  • Lung
  • Sarcoma
  • Ovarian
  • Pancreatic
  • Prostate

They can predict the likely success of many therapies, including single-agent and combination chemotherapy regimens, targeted biological drugs and antiangiogenics.

Starting Your Personalized Champions TumorGraft®Journey

Your proactive decision to add Champions TumorGraft technology to your cancer treatment toolkit can increase your chances of success. Our team of scientists is ready to help you explain the benefits of Champions TumorGraft patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models to your oncologist. Your doctor is your primary partner in your treatment and is part of the decision to include Champions TumorGraft technology as part of your regimen. It is important that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible about your desire to add Champions TumorGraft PDX models to your treatment plan.

Champions Oncology works with you and your physician to identify the best drug treatment for your individual tumor. The Champions TumorGraft process begins with a sample of your live tumor. It is best to plan for a personalized PDX model in advance of your surgery/biopsy. Contact us to learn more.

Your physician can contact us or send an email to [email protected] to discuss how Champions TumorGraft PDX models can become part of your cancer treatment solution.

Implantation to create PDX model

A piece of the patient’s living tumor (fresh tissue) is removed during surgery or biopsy and is implanted in mice. By implanting the tumor together with its microenvironment, Champions TumorGraft tumor models continue to very closely resemble the patient’s tumor, with 94 percent genetic correlation to the tumor in the patient. Approximately 65 percent of most tumor types implanted will grow successfully in mice.

TumorGraft-Process

Growth

While the Champions TumorGraft patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models are growing in the mice, the patient continues to receive regular cancer treatment therapy from their oncologist. This growth period generally takes four months or longer. The team at Champions will be in communication with the patient to advise on growth and help them in planning for drug testing.

Testing 

Our scientists work closely with treating physicians to determine which cancer drugs to test on the patient’s PDX model. Our labs will administer these cancer treatments to the mice and measure the living tumor’s response to each drug regimen. Physicians receive a robust report on the effectiveness of each tested cancer therapy on the PDX models. With this information in hand, physicians can personalize each patient’s cancer treatment therapy.

Banking

Every Champions TumorGraft®  PDX model  is preserved as a living sample for future patient use. These banked PDX models can be regrown and tested in the event of cancer progression or recurrence.

The entire process (implantation through testing) typically takes 4-6 months.

No matter where you are in your diagnosis, you can keep your tumor — and your hopes — alive by sending your tumor to Champions.

What is a personalized Champions TumorGraft® tumor model?

A personalized Champions TumorGraft® tumor model is Champions Oncology’s unique method of implanting and growing a fragment of a patient’s live tumor (fresh tissue) in mice. This technology is also known as mouse avatar or patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model. This innovative solution preserves the distinct characteristics of your unique live tumor, creating a “clone” that is nearly identical to the tumor growing in your body.

Once the Champions TumorGraft® PDX models 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.

How can Champions TumorGrafts® PDX models help patients and physicians?

Champions TumorGrafts® PDX models provide patients and physicians with a predictive model for how the patient’s tumor will react to various anticancer drugs and treatments. Studies have shown that a cancer treatment therapy that shrinks a patient’s tumor in mice also has a higher likelihood of working against the tumor in your body. Your physician will then be able to make cancer treatment therapy decisions based on real-world observations of how your own tumor responded to various anticancer drugs.

How does Champions get the patient’s live tumor (fresh tissue) for the PDX model implantation? 

The Champions TumorGraft® journey begins shortly before the patient’s planned procedure (biopsy/surgery).  A member of the Champions team will be in contact with the patient to get a signed informed consent as well as agreement. Champions will also be in contact with the patient’s physician to discuss what is required to obtain the tissue sample and to arrange for shipping a specialized kit to the site where the procedure is to occur.  On the day of the procedure, the the surgeon removes or biopsies the tumor and places a piece of it into Champions proprietary kit for transportation via a courier to our facilities the same day. It is therefore essential that patients contact Champions and set up their Champions TumorGraft® PDX model prior to the procedure, preferably at least one week prior to the procedure.

What factors affect whether a tumor will grow or not?

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:

  • what type of cancer you have
  • how much tissue is sent to us
  • how aggressive the tumor is
  • how long it takes to implant the tumor into the mice (surgery location versus implantation location)
  • number of days since last dose of therapy

We are continually researching ways to ensure as many PDX models are successfully established as possible without changing how they might respond to drugs during testing

How long does Champions TumorGraft testing take?

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 20-24 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. Testing usually begins 8 weeks after tumors are harvested and re-implanted into a second generation of mice. The drug tests themselves take approximately 21 days and the final report is made available 2-3 weeks from the end of the drug test.

Please remember that each tumor is unique and therefore the time taken might be more or less than the averages quoted here.

How accurate is the Champions TumorGraft test in identifying drugs that are likely to work? 

Another way of asking this question is:

When a Champions TumorGraft test identifies a drug that reduces growth in the mice, how often is that same drug beneficial to the patient?

We have conducted 126 individual drug tests in our Champions TumorGraft PDX Models and compared the results to actual clinical outcomes. Of the 92 tests where a drug was shown to reduce growth in the PDX model, 80 of those drugs also worked in reducing the growth of the tumor in the patient. This means that when the ChampionsTumorGraft test identified a drug that reduced growth, 87 percent of the time, those same drugs gave some benefit to the patient.

How do you know which drugs to test? 

A number of factors are considered when deciding which drugs to test against your Champions TumorGraft PDX model, including your tumor type, how advanced it is, what treatments you have already received, and any specific features your tumor may have. We also consider experimental therapies that may be as yet unapproved, but have either shown some clinical effect in other tumors (either the same type as yours or different) or that target some biological feature of your tumor. The choice of treatments to test against your Champions TumorGraft PDX model is made in close consultation with your oncologist

Can you test off-label drugs or drugs that are not indicated for my tumor type? 

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.

What is the advantage of the Champions TumorGraft PDX model over DNA sequencing? 

Because DNA sequencing and Champions TumorGraft® PDX models 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 PDX model. There are some cancer drugs available that will only work if certain mutations are present in your tumor. Champions TumorGraft technology is what we use to test those different cancer drugs to determine which ones have the best chance of helping you.

Does insurance cover any of the costs?

We understand that Champions TumorGraft testing is expensive, and we are in the process of discussing possible reimbursement with several insurance companies. However, for the time being, the cost of Champions TumorGraft testing is the responsibility of the patient.

How many Champions TumorGrafts PDX models have you done and how many have identified drugs that work in patients? 

To date, we have engrafted more than 1000 individual patient tumors, and of these, approximately 65 percent grew and established a Champions TumorGraft PDX model. A drug that benefited the patient, either through stabilization or regression of disease, was identified from 90 percent of these models.

If I want to do other tests in the future, can you store my tumor? 

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.

What is a live tumor bank?

A live tumor bank is a way for us to maintain a collection of PDX tumor models. A sample of a PDX model is placed into a specially designed container and kept under specific conditions that maintain the characteristics of the tumor. This sample can then be used for future drug testing if it becomes necessary. The banked tissue can also be used for additional molecular and biochemical testing that may help us better understand your treatment options.

If my tumor changes during treatment or recurs after treatment, what does this mean for my PDX model and any future treatments, should I need them?

It is likely that a heavily treated tumor that continues to grow or a tumor that recurs both have genetic traits that are somewhat different than your original Champions TumorGraft PDX model. This occurs primarily because your tumor changes in order to escape the growth-blocking effects of the therapy you have been on. However, this only means that your tumor is unlikely to respond to the drug(s) that you have been on previously. We know from experience that a patient’s original PDX model can still identify new drugs that will have some effect on recurrent or treatment-refractory tumors. In addition, there can be multiple drugs that attack the same target in a tumor, just in slightly different ways. This means the recurrent tumor may still be sensitive to that type of drug, just not necessarily the exact one you have already been on. For example, angiogenesis inhibitors restrict the ability of a tumor to form new blood vessels for nutrition and continued growth. There are numerous types of angiogenesis inhibitors that act in different ways to achieve the same end result.

Whom should I contact for more information or if I have more questions? 

You can contact a Champions representative for more information about our Champions TumorGraft technology and how it can be used during your treatment. Please send an email to: [email protected]