CET’s Cancer Diagnostic Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What type of cancers do you test?
Answer: At this time we are performing diagnostic testing on solid tumors such as lung cancer, breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, etc. We currently DO NOT offer diagnostic testing at this time on hematopoietic cancers (i.e. blood born cancers) such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Question: Does CET perform genetic testing on my cancer?
Answer: No. There are several limitations in genomic cancer diagnostic testing. CET’s approach does not need to know your cancer genetics. Our approach involves growing a “live disease in a dish” model to determine the best chemotherapy to treat a patient’s cancer.
Question: How long does it take to get an answer back?
Answer: If sufficient tissue is provided, it generally takes approximately 4 weeks. Our recommendation is not to delay cancer treatment if medically indicated. Once the test is completed, the information is sent to your doctor who will make the final medical judgment on your treatment.
Question: What is the cost of the diagnostic test?
Answer: There are 3 components to the diagnostic tests: (1) Best effort to grow the cancer cells; (2) Perform the drug test if a cell line is created; (3) Cryo-storage of the cell line. The entire cost of all 3 steps is approximately $2,500.
Question: Is this diagnostic testing covered by insurance?
Answer: At this time, the testing is NOT covered by the patient’s insurance. Also, CET DOES NOT submit an insurance claim on behalf of the patient. We use the most innovative science at the most affordable cost to the patient.
Question: My doctor does not feel that my cancer requires chemotherapy at this time. Can I have my tumor processed and stored in the event that I may someday need chemotherapy?
Answer: Yes. We can create your own personalized cancer cell line and cryo-store it for you at a nominal yearly cost. This would reduce your initial cost to only what you immediately need.
Question: Why is it necessary to obtain outcome data of my chemotherapy treatment?
Answer: Collecting outcome data on patients is critical for several reasons. First, the data improves the development of better cell models for patients, which will provide more accurate and valuable information for cancer patients and their physicians. Second, the data helps doctors and scientist search our database to provide better treatment for their patients; develop more effective cancer drugs; and conduct more cost-effective clinical trials.
Question: What are the limits of CET’s diagnostic testing in predicting clinical outcomes to chemotherapy?
Answer: No diagnostic test is ever full proof. There is a chance that the test may not predict the clinical response to chemotherapy. However, it is intuitive that if a chemotherapy is ineffective under cultured conditions, it is likely that it will be ineffective if give under clinical conditions. Yet, it is also possible that a drug may be effective under cultured conditions but may not be effective when administered under clinical conditions. Only by collecting clinical outcome data from customer will the models incrementally improve and become more predictive.
Question: If CET’s diagnostic test shows evidence that it is effective under cell culture conditions, why would it not be predictive under clinical conditions?
Answer: There are 2 major reasons to explain the difference. First, the patient’s tumor is composed of non-cancerous cells and connective tissue that impact the penetration or delivery of chemotherapy into a tumor. If a drug can’t penetrate a tumor, it won’t matter how effective it can kill cancer if it can’t reach all of the cancer cells. Second, tumors are composed of a variety of cancer cells that possess different susceptibility to chemotherapy. Cancer is dependent on stem cells that become cancerous (term cancer stem cells), which are resistant to chemotherapy and more like to cause cancer to relapse and metastasize. Chemotherapy frequently kills the more susceptible non-cancerous stem cells, leaving the cancer stem cells unharmed. Cancer stem cells then can grow and repopulate more cancer cells that leads to relapse and metastasis.