Bath Cancer Research

 

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Drug Sensitivity Testing -- Information Sheet for Patients

Who are we?
Bath Cancer Research is a charitably funded research group based at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Research scientist Dr Andrew Bosanquet, who has been actively involved in the field of cancer research for more than twenty-five years, heads the team.

What do we do?
We aim to improve treatment for patients with leukaemia and lymphoma. Patients with the same malignancy may vary in their response to treatment, making it difficult for doctors to choose the best treatment for an individual. To tackle this problem, we test malignant cells from individual patients with a range of drugs to find each patient’s unique drug sensitivity profile. Test-sensitive drugs are four times more likely to be of benefit than test-resistant drugs.

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What specimens do we test?
We routinely test leukaemias and lymphomas because malignant cells are readily available from blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes. We have most experience with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and similar diseases. We no longer test solid tumours. Please visit http://weisenthal.org for other testing laboratories.

What do we need for a successful test?
We need live tumour cells that arrive in our laboratories as soon as possible, and preferably within 24 hours of being taken. If enough malignant cells are present we provide drug sensitivity results for over 95% of specimens. We aim to find drugs that will kill your malignant cells. Your cells might not respond to any drug tested, especially if you have a drug resistant tumour - even the best anticancer drugs do not work for all patients. Sometimes no chemotherapy, or treatment with a new drug that is effective in the test, is suggested by the test results.

Your doctor will always make suggestions as to how to treat your disease based on a number of different factors, not just drug sensitivity test results.

What if I want a drug sensitivity test?
Ask your specialist, who can arrange for a specimen to be sent to us. If cancer cells are only accessible by surgery, discuss post-operative chemotherapy and drug sensitivity test options before your operation. We will send a drug sensitivity report, outlining your individual drug response profile, to your doctor. If required, we will send your doctor our "Information Sheet for Clinicians".

What does a drug sensitivity test cost?
NEW until further notice

June 2006. Bath Cancer Research has launched two far simpler, and therefore cheaper, drug sensitivity tests for CLL. These will allow physicians to test the main cytotoxic drugs of interest at diagnosis and also after the patients first regimen:

TRAC-0 suggested for untreated CLL patients - testing five drugs at just £95.00 (Euros 150.00). Drugs tested fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, mitoxantrone, chlorambucil, methylprednisolone.

TRAC-1 suggested for CLL patients at first relapse - testing 10 drugs and costing £195.00 (Euros 300.00).

Click here for further details.

Apart from any prior agreement, other NHS tests will cost £395.00 + to test the sensitivity to 20+ cytotoxic drugs.

Private patients and those from North America - please enquire.

It costs £150,000 pa to run Bath Cancer Research. Donations are always welcome!

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