Discovery to keep tumor cells alive
WASHINGTON - Agence France-PresseU.S. researchers said Monday they have discovered how to keep tumor cells alive in the lab, generating buzz in the scientific community about a potential breakthrough that could transform cancer treatment.
Until now, scientists have been unable to make cancer cells thrive for very long in the laboratory in a condition that resembles the way they look and act in the body. Doctors have largely relied on biopsied tissue that is frozen or set in wax to diagnose and recommend treatment.
The advance has sparked new hope that someday doctors may be able to test a host of cancer-killing drugs on a person’s own tumor cells in the lab, before returning to the patient with a therapy that is likely to be a good match.
“This would really be the ultimate in personalized medicine,” said lead author Richard Schlegel, chairman of the department of pathology at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers were kept alive for up to two years using the technique, experts said.