Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Viable tumor tissue
The Clearity Foundation
Dr. Deb Zajchowski, PhD
In addition to your cancer status, the number of prior treatments you’ve had, and your health and performance status, the availability of fresh tumor tissue is an important criterion for some clinical trials. For many of the new therapies that aim to stimulate your own immune system to attack your tumor cells, you must provide fresh tumor from a recent surgery or biopsy. Cells from your tumor are used to prepare a personalized vaccine (see Immunotherapies for Ovarian Cancer article below) and therefore must be alive to be used by the lab that makes the vaccine.
Typical surgical or biopsy procedures are generally followed by “fixing” the tumor in formalin. While this preserves the tissue so it can be evaluated by a pathologist and can be used for Clearity profiling, it also kills the cells so that they cannot be used for production of such vaccines. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead by talking with your doctor about potential vaccine trials for which you may be eligible before you have surgery. That will ensure that some of your tumor is saved and either shipped directly to the lab while the cells are alive or preserved in a way that it can be “resurrected” from a frozen state. Thinking ahead will ensure that you are prepared to take advantage of these immunotherapy approaches in the future.
The information included in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied that this information be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation.