Get answers to Certis Oncology’s most frequently asked questions.

Cancer is confusing and complex, even without the disorientation of a cancer diagnosis. At Certis Oncology Solutions, we understand this. That’s why we strive to make it as easy as possible for you to understand what we do and to answer all your questions. To help in that regard, here are the answers to the questions that we are most commonly asked:

What does Certis Oncology Solutions do?

Certis is a high-complexity, CLIA-certified laboratory-services company motivated by and dedicated to saving, extending and improving lives. We do it with leading-edge testing to help your doctor determine which anti-cancer drugs will be most effective against your specific, one-of-a-kind tumor. Get more detail here.

Who is Certis’ testing for? Who is or isn’t a candidate?

Certis’ orthotopic PDX testing can be used on non-irradiated, solid-tumor-type stage 2, 3 and 4 adult and pediatric cancers. This includes metastatic cancers (cancers which have spread). People who are in cancer treatment or have been previously treated for cancer are eligible for Certis’ testing. Learn more about eligibility here.

How is testing performed?

With your doctor’s help and involvement, we obtain a tissue sample of your tumor that we the implant orthotopically (“in the correct place”) in mice. Once the tumors in the mice have grown to appropriate testing size, we run concurrent testing of how multiple different drugs work against your one-of-a-kind, completely unique-to-you tumor. Read more about what to expect here.

Why should I consider Certis’ testing for my loved one or me?

In a word: life. Our orthotopic PDX technique for testing how different drugs work against your cancer could help your doctor find the most effective anti-cancer treatment for you. This could potentially save your life. It also could mean you avoid time—and toxic exposure—in treatment with ineffective therapies, potentially improving your quality of life and giving you more precious time with the people you love.

Is Certis’ testing safe for me?

We don’t run tests on you. Instead, we test different drug therapies on mice who have your tumor. The drugs we test are given to your “mouse avatars” instead of you. You make no trips, have no additional appointments to keep, and experience no side effects.

How much does Certis’ testing cost?

Orthotopic PDX testing at Certis provides high value. Compared to other PDX testing, our orthotopic approach allows earlier, faster testing on a wider range of patients (including those with metastatic cancer). The cost to establish the tumor line in mice is $2,500. The cost for testing is based on the number of tumor lines and drugs being tested. The cost for most people averages about $25,000, but there are many factors involved. Call us at 858-228-4110 for more information about your potential investment.

How do you know which drugs to test?

This is a central, extremely important question. That’s why it all starts (and ends) with your oncologist. We depend on your doctor to guide us toward those drug therapies that are most likely to be effective against your tumor.

Why are the tests performed on mice?

First and foremost, the mice aren’t you. Testing on them means we’re not testing on you. The reason we establish your tumor line in mice is all about the mice themselves. These are not your typical yard mice but, rather, extremely specialized immunodeficient mice. Their immunodeficiency means that your tumor can be surgically implanted and grow free from immune-system attacks.

How many mice will be used in testing for me or my loved one?

In short, many. The actual number of mice involved in your tests depends on how many drugs need to be tested. You, your oncologist and Certis work together to design the most efficient pharmacological study on your tumor.

How are the mice treated?

At Certis, we care for your “mouse avatars” to the highest standard in our in-house, state-of-the-art vivarium. We are accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science.

The mice are the key to helping your doctor find the treatment that will work best and improve, extend, and even save your life. We care for them with the responsibility and respect they are due and the highest level of professionalism under AAALAC guidelines.

What is the role of my cancer doctor and my cancer-care team?

Your oncologist remains your oncologist and the quarterback of your care. Actually, we depend on your doctor for quarterbacking as well. Think of Certis’ role like that of an MRI provider or a blood lab. Your doctor helps us determine which drugs to test, then we conduct those tests and return our findings to your doctor so you both can make an informed decision. We keep in contact with your doctor, contacting him or her whenever necessary, and our scientific advisory board is an available resource for your oncologist. Discover more about how we work with your oncologist here.

How long until I have my results?

It usually takes 4+ months for results. It all depends upon the growth rate of your individual tumor, but 4+ months is significantly shorter than with non-orthotopic PDXs, which produce results with lower predictive value.

How do I know it will work?

There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer. But Certis’ scientific validation through dozens of peer-reviewed studies shows that this type of testing can and does make a positive difference. Our research shows very high “concordance” between the tumors in the mice and the tumor in the patient. This means that what happens in the “mouse avatars” will happen in the patient to a very high degree.

At the same time, Certis’ leadership team, scientific advisory board and in-house scientists are highly regarded and reputable and have conducted research with some of the biggest names in cancer care today. In addition, our laboratory is CLIA-certified to the highest level for high-complexity tests. To learn more about Certis, its leadership and capabilities, visit our About page.

What does “PDX” mean?

A PDX is a patient-derived xenograft. A xenograft is a tissue graft from one species implanted into another species.

What does “orthotopic” mean?

Orthotopic means “in the correct place.” In the context of our testing, orthotopic means that your tumor will be implanted in the right place in the mice. In other words, if you have a liver tumor, we implant its tissue into the mice’s livers. While others offer PDX testing, they implant your tumor subcutaneously (under the skin), which is ectopic (in the wrong place). Orthotopic placement offers the highest correlation between your tumor and the PDXs in the mice, including when it comes to metastasis.

How do I get started?

It couldn’t be easier. And as you know, time matters. The earlier you start, the earlier you get the results your doctor needs to help you get the best, most effective cancer treatment for you. Simply call Certis Oncology Solutions today at 858-228-4110. Or talk with your doctor about orthotopic PDX testing at Certis and how it can help you have more time and a higher quality of life in the face of stage 2, 3 or 4 cancer.

For more information or answers to your—or your doctor’s—additional questions, call Certis Oncology Solutions at 858-228-4110.