San Antonio Tumor Bank Seeks New Approaches To Cancer Treatment

“We’re going to develop hopefully in the future a path towards truly personalized medicine.”

By Wendy RigbyFebruary 21, 2017 9:30 am| , ,

From Texas Public Radio

A San Antonio physician is determined to change the way the medical community thinks about and treats cancer. He’s an oncologist with a vision. And his newest endeavor is the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project.

In a lab on San Antonio’s Northwest side, hundreds of tumor samples are kept frozen in liquid nitrogen tanks.

“It’s basically like a biobank,” explained biorepository

coordinator Melissa Rundle. She is in charge of preserving tissue from hundreds of patients.

The tumor bank is the brainchild of medical oncologist Anthony Tolcher, MD, of the START Center. That stands for South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics.

“We’re going to develop hopefully in the future a path towards truly personalized medicine,” Tolcher stated.

Right now, most cancers are treated alike, even though people have different genetic errors triggering the disease. Tolcher is gathering hundreds of samples of the ten most common cancers including breast, lung and prostate cancer.

South Texas patients donate their blood and tissue. “We have in excess of about 15 hospitals, over a hundred physicians, who collect tumor specimens from newly-diagnosed cancer patients,” he said. “And the specimens then are matched to their blood. And then we perform something called whole genome sequencing.”

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