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Cancer treatment options
Test Candidates

Assay Criteria

Approximately 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of those, almost half will be treated with some form of chemotherapy or molecularly targeted agent. With so many drug choices for each cancer type, it makes sense for you to have the best information possible for treating your disease.

From Diagnosis to Functional Profile

Step 1 – The Qualifications

We can test patients who are newly diagnosed, as well as those who have had a recurrence or whose cancer has spread. To ensure the accuracy of our results, patients must be off active chemotherapy or radiation at the time the sample is collected. Generally, a 2 – 4 week break between treatment and biopsy is recommended.

Step 2 – Obtaining the Sample

At Rational Therapeutics, we do not grow or subculture cells in the laboratory. This guarantees the most accurate results for your assay. Since we do not alter your cells, we need to obtain a large enough sample to test. A needle biopsy is not enough.

Quantity of specimen required:

  • Solid tumor: one-gram of viable malignant tissue
  • Blood (leukemia): 7 – 10 ml
  • Bone marrow (leukemia and myleoma): 1 – 3 ml of first pull or a separate aspirate into a pre-heparinized syringe.
  • Malignant effusions (pleural or ascites fluids): 500 – 1,000 ml of fluid with a tumor cell percentage greater than 30 and the ratio of tumor to reactive mesothelial cells should be greater than 2:1 with 20,000 units of heparin per liter

Step 3 – Sending Your Sample to Rational Therapeutics

If a surgical procedure is scheduled, you can call us for a kit and instructions for your surgeon on how to properly send the sample. We need to receive the sample within 24 hours — while cells are still living — to perform your assay.

Between 85 – 95 percent of specimens received in our laboratory provide viable cells. On rare occasions, cells die en route to our lab. There are also times when a biopsy specimen that appeared malignant to the surgeon may not contain any cancer cells, or too few to test adequately.

If you plan to have your surgeon send a sample to our lab, learn about our specimen processing, packing and shipping instructions.

If you are in the area or would like to travel to Long Beach to have a sample taken, we have arranged for a special room rate at a local hotel.

Step 4 – The Assay

Once at Rational Therapeutics, your sample will be exposed to different drugs and combinations. Based on the quantity and quality of the sample, our laboratory will analyze your tumor’s response against 8 – 16 drugs and combinations to indentify which treatments will work best to cause your cancer to die.

Results typically take 7 – 10 days from receipt of sample to the lab.

Step 5 – The Results

Once your laboratory results have been analyzed, a detailed report or “functional profile” is created. We send treatment recommendations directly to your oncologist. From there you can work directly with your physician to determine a treatment regimen that will work for you.

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