Tumor cryopreservation (specialized “freezing”) can make your cancer treatment more effective.
Tumor cryopreservation is the preservation of tumor tissue in liquid nitrogen with precise temperature reduction and storage in special solutions called cryoprotectants. Cryopreservation makes it possible to preserve the internal and molecular structure of living tumor cells. Later, even years later, viable cancer cells can be retrieved by equally specialized thawing of the tissue.
We cryopreserve tumors for future xenograft testing…and other reasons.
At Certis Oncology Solutions, we cryopreserve tumors—which is different from freezing or flash-freezing tumors—as a normal part of our protocol when establishing tumor lines for testing in mice (if there is sufficient tissue). By doing this, we’re able to establish additional tumor xenografts and test additional therapies later, if necessary.
But there are other reasons for tumor cryopreservation. This includes for genetic sequencing as well as for people with stage 2 or higher cancer diagnoses who aren’t proceeding with xenograft establishment and testing at this time but may want to at a later date.
Cryopreserving your tumor cells can give you many more options in the future.
The premise is simple: medicine in general, and cancer medicine specifically, advances continuously. What is known and what is possible are different today than they were previously, and they will be different in the future. Yet, in the future, many of the tests will require live tumor tissue and cells.
Be ready to qualify for experimental cancer therapies should you need them.
Cancer treatment follows specific, set protocols, but the standard-of-care therapy that works for one person often doesn’t work for the next individual. In some cases, clinical trials (testing of experimental therapies) offer the best hope for patients for whom various treatments haven’t been helpful.
Qualifying for a clinical trial usually depends on the specific characteristics of your cancer cells. Having your tumor already cryopreserved and ready to thaw now means you can provide that tissue immediately, without waiting to have a biopsy procedure. This is particularly important if you’re too sick to have a biopsy now…or at all.
Reduce the time involved in xenograft establishment later.
Another key reason for tumor cryopreservation is that, even if you aren’t considering xenograft testing at present, that could change, and potentially very quickly. At Certis, we perform xenograft testing for stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4 cancer patients. This is due in no small part to the dividing line between stage 2 and stage 3 being often thin. You can transition from stage 2 to stage 3 quite fast.
Also, the line between these two stages is blurry. One oncologist my determine your cancer is stage 3 while another finds it to be stage 2, and vice-versa.
In stage 2, it may not be appropriate to begin tumor xenograft establishment, or it may simply not seem appropriate. But stage 2 patients frequently find they are actually in stage 3. With your tumor tissue already cryopreserved, you can proceed to xenograft testing more quickly. Specifically, the tissue is ready to go—no delay for biopsy. This matters, as time is of the essence in cancer treatment, and establishment of your tumor xenografts in mice takes time.