#CANCERSM Chat topic 11-Jul-2019: Basics of Biomarker Testing

Until just a few years ago, chemotherapy was often the only option for some cancer patients.  In just a few short years, molecular therapies and immunotherapies have become commonplace as treatments for cancer patients.  But determining whether a particular cancer patient is a candidate for these new, often very expensive, molecular and immunotherapies requires molecular biomarker testing.  For many cancer patients and their families, the role of molecular biomarker testing in their diagnosis is a unfamiliar and confusing.  How is testing performed?  How is the test result analyzed? What is involved in… Read More

#LCSM Chat Topic 03/07: Biomarker Magicians (or, Why We Love Pathologists)

Diagnosing the type of lung cancer from a tissue or liquid biopsy is absolutely critical to selecting treatment and determining the patient’s prognosis. However, for many lung cancer patients and their families, the role of tumor tissue in their diagnosis is a mystery. What happens to tissue collected in a biopsy? How is it analyzed? What is involved in getting helpful answers from biomarker testing? The specialized doctors responsible for answering these questions are pathologists.  They identify any lung cancer cells in the biopsied tissue, and guide the patient’s biomarker testing. Unfortunately,… Read More

#LCSM Chat 11/29: What’s a cancer model, and why should I care?

Once your take cancer cells out of a living body, the cancer cells die, right?  So how researchers study cancer? One way researchers study cancer is by using “cancer models.”  Cancer models are clumps of living cancer cells that exist either in a lab dish (see image above), or in animal models such as mice. Sometimes these models also include other living cells from the host environment.  It’s not exactly the same as studying a living cancer in its human host, but it does allow researchers time to study the biology of a cancer… Read More