For some years, scientists have recognized that tumors alone are not responsible for rapid cancerous cell spreading and growth. Circulating tumor cells – and to a lesser extent, cancer stem cells (CTCs and CSCs) – a known primary cause of metastatic cancers, are responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths.
In many cases, once these cells reach this state, they possess all necessary data and ability to form micro-colonization and micro-metastases. This means they have the potential to develop into potent micro-metastases. This is why we see recurrence of cancer.
This is also why practitioners see these CSC’s remaining in the blood sometimes years later after primary tumors are discovered and are no longer detectable via PET/CT, MRI, CT, standard blood markers (CA 125, CA 19-9, etc.), and other standard traditional diagnostic measurements.
CSCs are problematic since these are immortal cells, meaning they have no Hayflick limit for cell division. These cells also have the ability to divide as long as they live. They circulate in the bloodstream continually (24/7/365 days a year) and wait for immune system vulnerability, for an opportunity to generate more tumors. They may also become dormant for up to 30+ years.
RGCC testing uses blood samples as the most appropriate form for analysis because it includes circulating tumor cells containing the most relevant information to determine risk for both a potent metastasis and/or recurrence from months to many years later. Metastasis of cancer cells, which often occurs 30+ years later, is the known chief cause of death.
This is why RGCC is regarded as the optimal method for testing. It is also used for regular follow-up tests to determine whether CTC’s/CSC’s remain, how many and any sudden changes in the number of CTC’s/CSC’s that may be present in circulation over months and years. Using this and other standard measurements, we can obtain a good picture of recurrences (if any) much sooner. Simply relying upon only one test does not provide the most accurate data on cancerous growth, which is why RGCC and other standard medical tests and biopsies are recommended and used in combination to determine health status, as well as provide the comprehensive methods of evaluating patient health.
What are RGCC tests for cancer and how do they work?
Research Genetic Cancer Center in Switzerland uses detection, immunophenotyping and isolation of circulating tumor cells, with state-of-the art flow cytometers and sensitivity/chemoresistance testing, and with the use of micro-array technology.
High throughput screening is used to allow an automated and fast method for sample processing as well as screening different types of libraries, including combinatorial chemistry, genomics, protein and peptide libraries.
RGCC testing is the study of circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream, as it relates to cancer prognosis and progression. Circulating tumor cells (or CTCs in the bloodstream) constitute a non-homogenous (dissimilar) population of cells which possess the ability to metastasize.
There is a continuing and growing need for identification of these types of cells for the following reasons:
- To detect early signs of developing cancer
- To enable monitoring of existing cancers
- To produce an individual profile of chemotherapeutic medications as well as natural treatments to use in the determination of optimal outcomes for treatment options
- To monitor impact and effectiveness of therapy
Chemo-sensitivity testing is one method of accomplishing this goal, where cancer cells are tested in a laboratory prior to administration of drugs for treatment.
The R.G.C.C Group Test
This test uses blood samples (or in some cases tissue tests) to identify and isolate tumor cells for the following analysis:
- Viability testing of chemotherapy drugs
- Genetic profiling for guidance about targeted therapies e.g. monoclonal antibodies
- Viability testing (and identification of mechanisms of action), of natural substances which may be used as part of a complementary treatment strategy.
Results are compiled into a written report which enables the practitioners to map treatment options and choices. As well, the R.G.C.C. Group test can provide data to enable understanding of how an individual may tolerate specific chemotherapy agents. Whether patients “accumulate” or “rapidly metabolize” these agents is based on the genetic make-up of the individual.
The importance of the tests and what can be tested
The test has emerged as one of the most accurate and complete tests of its kind. The test can be performed using a simple blood sample with RGCC-Ltd works for all cancers (solid tumors, blood cancers, sarcomas, etc.) with the exception of brain and central nervous system primary tumors (glioblastomas, astrocytoma, meningioma etc.). These laboratory tests are still viable with these cancers using a small, live tissue sample from the tumor.
Another type of diagnostic test, known as RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction ) using peripheral blood samples, seeks to detect circulating tumors has been used with some success in patients with localized and metastatic cancers such as prostate, ovarian, and breast.