Using cell culture assays to predict patient's response to radiation therapy?
Another area of interest that has been insufficiently explored is the possibility of using cell culture assays to predict a patient's response to radiation therapy.
A Chicago area oncologist, Robert Schrek, at one time applied the assay to the field of radiation therapy. He found that people vary greatly in the susceptibility of their cells to radiation.
One example was that some patients' leukemia cells could be destroyed with a mere two roentgens of radiation, while a few patients had cells that could withstand 1,000 roentgens.
Hinkley and Bosanquet of the Bath Cancer Research Unit reported the results of 61 CLL specimens from 40 patients showed profound inter-patient differences in the sensitivity of cells to radiation. Five patient specimens, which were radio-resistant in vitro, were from patients who were also resistant clinically to irradiation. Another patient who responded very well clinically was found to be extremely sensitive in a cell culture assay.
(Hinkley HJ, Bosanquet AG. The in vitro radiosensitivity of lymphocytes from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia using the differential staining cytotoxicity (DISC) assay. II-results on 40 patients. Int J Radiat Biol. 1992;61:111-121)
Comby, of the University of Caen also observed this relationship in B-cell CLL and predicted the utility of cell culture assays as a valuable clue to the selection of irradiation regimens for B-CLL patients and assessing the impact of radiation on tumor cell death. Investigation of correlations between in vitro radiation-induced apoptosis and the in vivo response to radiation therapy.
(Comby E, Andre I, Troussard X, et al. In vitro evaluation of B-CLL cells apoptotic responses to irradiation. Leuk Lymphoma. 1999;34:159-166)
I understand there are no cell culture assay labs in the world that are currently offering their tests before patients undergoing radiation treatment. It seems likely that adopting research into the use of cell culture assays for pre-screening radiation therapy could be very beneficial.
Differential Staining Cytotoxicity Assay (DiSC)
Gregory D. Pawelski
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