Industry News: Individualizing Patient Care with Functional Cancer Cell Screening

13 Dec 2016

Labcyte Inc. and Notable Labs have announced a collaboration to apply the unique capabilities of Labcyte’s revolutionary Echo® acoustic liquid handling technology to screen individual cancer patients’ tumor cells. This functional screening identifies which available drugs or drug combinations may be most effective at treating their cancer. 

“Our service is designed to provide information that may help clinicians prioritize the best available options for individualized patient care in an actionable timeframe,” said Pete Quinzio, co-founder of Notable Labs. “Our belief is that testing drugs directly on patients’ cancer cells will lead to a better understanding of biological mechanisms of disease, improve treatment success, and reduce unnecessary side effects.” 

Labcyte’s acoustic liquid handling technology uses sound energy to transfer samples and reagents more precisely, accurately and cost-effectively than traditional methods, enabling entirely new capabilities that are difficult or impossible to accomplish with other techniques. Acoustic liquid handling technology is contactless, eliminating the use of pipettes and reducing the volumes required for compounds and samples. 

Notable Labs will utilize the unique attributes of Labcyte’s Echo liquid handler in a fully automated, high-throughput laboratory to functionally assess the effects of FDA-approved drugs on live primary cancer cells from individual patients. The various chemotherapies, targeted agents, and non-oncology classes of drugs can be tested alone and in combinations to identify efficacy and specificity against cancer, in a way that was not possible before. 

Mark Fischer-Colbrie, Chief Executive Officer of Labcyte commented “Augmenting today’s precision medicine efforts with functional screening could dramatically improve outcomes for patients and reduce healthcare costs by utilizing a more comprehensive data set to identify potential drug or drug combinations for an individual patient. With such promise for saving lives, we are committed to doing everything we can to accelerate the development of this strategy and expand its use.  We applaud Notable Labs, a pioneer in this field in North America, for their vision and their efforts to improve and enhance patient care.” 

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