After opening its new tumor bank, Biotherapy International remains committed to informing patients about the importance of cryopreserving tumor tissue upon the initial diagnosis. Access to a well-preserved tumor sample can open new therapeutic avenues in the future based on experimental treatment with anti-cancer vaccines, should they become necessary.
Tumor tissue cryopreservation refers to the practice of deep-freezing samples of tumor tissue. These are stored at special ultra-cold refrigerators at a temperature of -80°C or in liquid nitrogen at -196°C.
Cryopreserved tumor samples contain all the elements that can serve as targets for a patient’s immune system, including DNA and RNA information that identifies them. However, some of these elements are very fragile, and unless properly cryopreserved, they often degrade, break down, and become unusable.
Cryopreserved tumor tissue provides researchers with complete access to all patient’s own tumor’s components, including genetic information about recognizable mutations. In this way, this can then be used to guide the oncologist to customized treatments against a patient’s unique cancer.
The best opportunity to cryopreserve tumor tissue for the future preparation of anti-cancer vaccines is either after a diagnostic or therapeutic surgical removal, or through a biopsy. Sometimes, tumor cells or elements secreted by tumor cells called exosomes, or other elements derived from cancer cells can be isolated from ascites, pleural effusion or sometimes even from the blood.
A piece of freshly-obtained tumor tissue, as large as possible, should be placed in well-sealed cryopreservation tubes, which often come in two sizes: 2 ml or 5 ml. Alternatively, standard sterile 50 ml tubes can be used. Tumor tissue should be covered with saline to prevent drying. Stored tumor tissue will be transferred on dry ice (-70°C) to be stored in specialized sterile cryopreservation tubes at Biotherapy International’s laboratory in Tel Aviv. Tumor tissue should be kept frozen at all times. It will be kept at Biotherapy International’s Tumor Tissue Bank in Tel Aviv at -80°C refrigerator or at -196°C liquid nitrogen refrigerators for permanent storage until used if indicated.
When cancer is initially diagnosed, doctors and patients often aim to act as quickly as possible to remove and treat the tumor before it spreads and metastasizes. However, at this stage, it is often impossible to predict whether the available anti-cancer treatments will eliminate all malignant cells and result in a cure. Furthermore, patients who have a high-risk disease or a stage IV disease at diagnosis are unlikely to be cured.
Once cancer recurs or as soon as metastases are diagnosed, the likelihood of achieving permanent remission or cure through conventional anticancer procedures is unlikely.
At this point, access to cryopreserved tumor tissue can provide access to a safe and potentially valuable therapeutic tool known as anti-cancer vaccination that can be followed by additional activation of a patient’s immune system in response to an anti-cancer vaccine. The cryopreserved tumor tissue can be used to:
In order to be aware of the option to cryopreserve tumor tissue for future use, we highly recommend patients to bring up the topic of cryopreservation of tumor tissue to their surgeon or oncologist and contact Biotherapy International’s Tumor Bank as soon as cancer is suspected or diagnosed. Our agents will be glad to convince the surgeon to keep a portion of tumor tissue cryopreserved and coordinate the process of cryopreservation of tumor tissue with Biotherapy International team. This will ensure this unique option of tumor’s cryopreservation is not missed, rather than keeping it all in formalin at the pathology department.
Cryopreserving a tumor sample at ultra-cold temperature ensures it stays as close as “fresh” as possible. This keeps all the information stored in the tumor’s DNA intact.
If standard anti-cancer treatments (such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy) fail, the cryopreserved tumor sample can help us prepare a customized anti-cancer vaccine. This will teach your immune system to recognize the DNA in your tumor as “non-self” and aggressively fight it as it would fight an infection.
If the tumour is not in an easily accessible location, or if it was already removed, it is also possible to use blood-derived cancer components. Blood samples often contain circulating tumour cells, excretory extracellular vesicles or exosomes. These can all be used as a source of cancer antigens, and then be used to manufacture an anti-cancer vaccine.
Ideally, blood samples will need to be harvested and cryopreserved before initiating any conventional oncological treatment (like chemotherapy). This will increase the chances of finding cancer antigens amidst the blood tissue.
It is impossible to know from the start whether cancer will become recurrent or if it will metastasize. Most cancers respond well to conventional treatments. When they don’t, additional rounds of chemotherapy or radiotherapy are mainly ineffective in eliminating cancer to the last cell.
When a patient is first diagnosed with cancer, we all expect advanced treatments like immunotherapy won’t be necessary. If they do, having a tumor sample stored in a tumor bank can make a massive difference in the range of treatments available.
To arm you and your doctor with the best, most personalized leading-edge research, diagnostics and options worldwide. To arm you and your doctor with the best, most personalized leading-edge research, diagnostics and options worldwide. To arm you and your doctor with the best, most personalized leading-edge research, diagnostics and options worldwide. To arm you and your doctor with the best, most personalized leading-edge research, diagnostics and options worldwide.
Contact us using the form below. One of our team members will contact you and schedule a video call with you and your attending physician. During this call, we will explain the necessary procedure to reserve a tumor sample during a biopsy, store it, and send it to our tumor bank.
It is important to begin the process before the initial biopsy or cancer-removal surgery. The surgeon needs to be notified ahead of time in order to preserve as much of the original tumor tissue as he can.
The tumor sample can be stored in 2-ml or 5-ml sterile tubes, made from a material that can withstand cryopreservation. If this is not available, the surgeon can also use a 50-ml tube with a small amount of saline solution.
Then, the tumor needs to be transported to Tel Aviv via our courier. During the journey, it should be kept on cold ice at ultra cold temperatures (either a deep-freeze refrigerator at -80°C, or a liquid nitrogen refrigerator at -196°C).