Is it possible to determine better cancer treatment with information obtained from a patient’s blood cells? One Israeli company seems to think so.
Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
What if a person with cancer could have personalized treatment based on information obtained from his or her blood plasma? What if the course of treatment was so precise, there’d be no more guessing as to whether it may or may not work? That possibility is about to become a reality through research currently being conducted by an Israeli company called Oncohost.
According to the company’s website, “Oncohost™ is developing cutting-edge technology to characterize, analyze and predict patient response to treatment. This enables personalized treatment strategies with improved outcomes & reduced side effects.”
The Oncohost program is unique. The program studies blood samples from patients focusing specifically on cell proteins instead of using genetic information as the Oncotype DX does. Using their proprietary host response profiling platform, PROphet, they are able to predict individual patient outcomes enabling personalized treatment planning. PROphet also helps determine and identify potential drug targets, advancing therapeutic strategies and combination therapies.
In an article published on December 4, 2019, Ofer Sharon, MD, CEO of Oncohost™ said, "Profiling of host response to immunotherapy addresses a major challenge in oncology today – understanding why treatment helps some patients but not others. By combining OncoHost's proprietary technology with proteomic analysis, we are able to predict how individual patients may respond to treatment. This is the first step towards developing successful personalized cancer treatment plans."
This is exciting news for those affected by cancer. Instead of patients being required to undergo traditional treatment options, such as chemotherapy, radiation and anti-hormone therapy, doctors could use the patient’s own cell information to determine the best route of treatment for the best outcome.
The research is just beginning but, according to the company, proves promising.
According to the January 21, 2020 press release, Oncohost has partnered with American owned company, RayBiotech. In January, they received a $1 million grant from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.
The grant will support OncoHost and RayBiotech's combined development and clinical validation of host response testing for the early prediction of treatment responsiveness in non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients undergoing immunotherapy. It will also be used to further develop and implement an automated slide assistance platform (ASAP) for reducing the time of large-scale protein processing as part of a new joint service: host response enrichment for pharmaceutical companies that could benefit patients and oncologists on both ends.
"The BIRD Foundation Board of Governors selected to support the project between OncoHost and RayBiotech on their mission to counteract therapy resistance in order to improve cancer treatment response," said Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation in the press release. "This joint project contains a high level of innovation and knowledge that could benefit the treatment of lung cancer patients."
Hopefully, in the near future, oncologists won’t need to make educated guesses as they prescribe treatment options for their patients. Thanks to the innovation of companies like Oncohost, doctors could have better and more efficient resources.
Perhaps one day, science will reveal even more information about cancer, and we can find a way to let it become a thing of the past. Until that time comes, personalized treatment for cancer will offer more individuals a glimmer of hope.