Treating the cancer patient as an individual
Following the diagnosis of their cancer, each patient will require a specific treatment regimen, depending on the stage of the disease as well as the cancer type. Treatment may take the form of surgery, radiotherapy, or systemic therapy, such as chemotherapy, hormone treatment, or various targeted biological therapies. The primary goal of cancer treatment is to cure, or at least prolong life, whilst also showing consideration for the patient’s quality of life. Advances in diagnostics have resulted in marked improvements in survival rates for most tumor types. Some of the most common cancer types, including breast, cervical, oral, and colorectal, now have higher probabilities for good outcomes if detected early and treated according to best practice.
Optimizing the pathway from diagnosis to treatment
Another challenge lies in the complex logistics of developing novel therapies, such as personalized immunotherapy treatments, especially since time may be extremely limited. When considering the time-limited development of these individualized treatments, the ability to test multiple antibodies or drugs on one type of sample quickly, or to find and repair a particular DNA sequence, becomes key to patient survival. Once a candidate molecule or key DNA sequence is identified, Tecan’s flexible approach means that time to production of a therapeutic molecule, or time to test a particular gene therapy, can be significantly shortened. In effect, Tecan’s know-how and technology can take the pain out of the automation of the many processes required to take a particular therapy through the drug discovery process to production and delivery.
Decreasing time to market for novel therapies
Equally, when evaluating a potential cancer treatment across many patient samples as quickly as possible, Tecan’s flexibility to scale-up automation means that empirical evidence can then be gathered and analyzed more effectively, decreasing time to market for a given therapy. Once a therapy has been found to work, Tecan, being uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between research and clinic, can then provide an optimized solution for its production.
Developing cancer drugs also involves finding out which combination of drugs works best: it is crucial to know how potential new therapies interact with the cocktail of other drugs in a given cancer treatment regimen. Tecan’s expertise in this domain is already well-documented1 . These sorts of protocols involve the generation of in-vitro and in-vivo models for different cancers, and the use of tumor cells for drug screening and preclinical testing, such as drug sensitivity assays. Many different samples may need to be analyzed, involving multiple dilutions of drugs from high to low concentrations in order to identify effective doses, a process which benefits hugely from automation.
Whether looking at developing personalized or broadly applicable therapies, the needs for these labs are for reliable, high throughput automation workstations. The modular scale-up and flexibility offered by Tecan makes it a true enabler of a lab’s ability to commercialize new methods for the tailored and timely treatment of cancer patients.