“Human cells are as unique as the patients themselves, so you really need to see the way those cells interact with given drugs to know for certain what treatment will work,” said Matthew Gevaert, Ph.D., CEO of KIYATEC.
GREENVILLE, S.C. December 16, 2017
Cancer patients and their families will soon have access to a series of groundbreaking diagnostic tests, the first of which can indicate ovarian cancer patients’ future response to chemotherapy before undergoing treatment with up to 93 percent accuracy, thanks to an enhanced partnership between Greenville Health System (GHS) Cancer Institute and Greenville-based predictive diagnostics company KIYATEC.
As the flagship clinical partner of KIYATEC, GHS Cancer Institute patients will be the first to receive the opportunity to benefit from these tests through clinical studies initially applicable to all ovarian cancer patients. Through the partnership, KIYATEC will expand the test offerings to patients with other cancers within the coming year.
GHS patients who elect to participate in this test will have their results used to help inform patient treatment decisions. Access to this test will lead to deeper insights into potential treatment success and reduce the need for patients to undergo stressful and painful treatments with limited knowledge of patient specific response.
“Human cells are as unique as the patients themselves, so you really need to see the way those cells interact with given drugs to know for certain what treatment will work,” said Matthew Gevaert, Ph.D., CEO of KIYATEC. “By placing each patient’s cancer cells in conditions that mimic the actual human body, we can drill down to drug effect on the cellular level and establish the connection between the results we see in the lab and the response we hope to see in the patients.”
To determine which drugs a patient will best respond to, each patient’s cancer cells are placed in a three-dimensional cell culture at the KIYATEC laboratories. These three-dimensional cultures more accurately depict the biologic and physiologic interactions of cells within an actual human body. The cell culture is then exposed to various chemotherapies and cancer-treatment drugs at differing concentrations to determine the cells’ drug response level. The drug response level within the lab-created cell culture is then used to make an informed prediction of patient responsiveness to a given treatment option.
“KIYATEC’s three-dimensional cancer models may well allow clinicians to predict drug choice for cancer patients with greater precision and speed. Additionally, these same models can help companies develop new drugs with less expense,” said W. Jeffrey Edenfield, MD, medical director for GHS’ Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR). “Prospective trials are needed, and we are thrilled that the GHS Cancer Institute will be the flagship site to advance these predictive diagnostics into the clinic for our cancer patients.”
The development of this test using three-dimensional cell cultures is the result of a nearly six-year blinded study, which in initial analysis has yielded 93 percent accuracy. KIYATEC was supported throughout the research process by GHS’ ITOR, where the KIYATEC offices and labs are located.
“ITOR was created at the GHS Cancer Institute to catalyze innovative science in the laboratory setting that can meaningfully touch lives in the clinical setting on an expedited time trajectory,” said Larry Gluck, MD, medical director of GHS Cancer Institute. “Through our expanded relationship with KIYATEC, we are taking the advancements we are making in the lab and bringing them right down the hall to the patients who need them. That’s the type of personalized medicine we strive to deliver.”
“Our ability to advance our clinical studies to the level where we are actually affecting patient outcomes is a direct outcome of our relationship with GHS and their support of cutting-edge research initiatives,” said Gevaert. “It’s unique for a company like ours to be located on a hospital campus, but we chose to co-locate with the GHS Cancer Institute where we are reminded daily that our work is ultimately focused on improving outcomes for the patients next door.”
GHS’ relationship with KIYATEC is one example of the types of partnerships encouraged through the GHS Health Sciences Center, of which ITOR is a component. The Health Sciences Center brings together an integrated healthcare delivery system, academic institutions and private sector organizations to advance innovation in teaching, workforce development, research and entrepreneurial activities.
“From the establishment of ITOR in 2005 to expanding our Innovation Zone with academic and biotechnology partners, GHS remains committed to supporting collaborative cancer research with the goal of rapidly translating that research into clinical care,” said Spence Taylor, MD, GHS president. “The GHS KIYATEC relationship is a wonderful example of the ways we work in tandem with our partners daily to support our mission of transforming healthcare.”
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