Precision medicine in oncology

Precision medicine in oncology will become reality not just by developing novel treatments, but by developing novel diagnostic technologies that allow the identification and stratification of the novel treatments to patients most likely to benefit from these. The methodologically diverse suite of advanced technologies that would enable personalized medicine (genomics, proteomics, cell culture technologies, drug screening, bioprinting and e.g. AI powered image analysis), while widely validated and heavily used in the research context, are not often used as part of validated diagnostic tools, as the pathway of converting these technologies into IVD/MDR compliant platforms is challenging. Novel multi-technology incorporating diagnostic platforms, which Misvik incorporates, are however the only option to further develop cancer diagnostics and precision medicine in global scale, and not only in context of cancer care. Static companion diagnostic (CDx) assays suggest potential benefit from a given therapy but fail to provide functional evidence for an individual patient or shed insights into how a given therapy may affect the other organs such as the immune system. Functional diagnostic tests could allow assessment of the patient specific roots of the therapy responsiveness not only at the target organ or cell, but also in the peripheral, systemic level. As a consequence, when examining therapeutic endpoints such as cancer cell selective cytotoxicity, immune cell activation, or target cell recognition using functional patient specific assay models, it will be possible to model and quantify drug responses in whole system level and model processes that predictably precede therapeutic effects in any individual patient or a specific solid cancer.

Functional drug screening for treatment stratification

The development of high-throughput drug screening (HTS) technologies and methods for propagation of cells isolated from living biopsies has made it feasible to perform large-scale drug screening experiments also using patient derived primary tumor cell cultures. These techniques are collectively called as ex vivo drug screening methods. The utility of ex vivo drug screening has emerged as a novel approach to complement pathological cancer diagnostic procedures to track patient specific drug sensitivity to hundreds of cancer therapeutics in a single test. The results can be used to confirm drug sensitivity patterns predicted from molecular genetics or to inform treatment decision and personalized care of individual cancer patients when standard treatment options have been exhausted.

“We are committed to expand the scope of companion diagnostic methods from static biomarker assays towards functional tests utilizing living cells as the test sensors. This groundbreaking goal will push boundaries of current companion diagnostics and harness the full potential of science to contribute to the realization of precision medicine in cancer care and achieve the best possible outcomes for patients affected by cancer.”

The overarching goal of our Cancer Research mission is to develop a standardized, MDR compliant, scalable ex vivo test platform for functional diagnostic assessment of therapy efficacy for rare solid cancers, that: 1. revolutionizes the diagnostic approach for personalized cancer treatments stratification for rare cancers; 2. establishes MDR compliance for ex vivo diagnostic methods incorporating living tissue derived cells as sensors; 3. reduces the unnecessary societal costs affiliated with ineffective cancer therapies, increases the overall efficacy of the currently available anticancer therapies; and 4. determines key factors impacting on the clinical efficacy of current and future anticancer drugs. We accomplish this goal by our patient specific drug screening platform, that feeds empirical diagnostic evidence of therapy efficacy into medical oncology practice and treatment stratification.


Read more: Diagnostic drug efficacy screening as a novel procedure in rare cancer care