Delivering the high quality of care to cancer patients treated in the community setting versus those who have access to the high-quality of care delivered by academic medicals centers continues to be a challenge. In an attempt to address these care disparities, a doctor in practice for more than 35 years with Surgical Oncology of Northeast Georgia has launched SpeciCare, a company whose goal is to collect patient data and live tissues samples to enable patient access to the innovative testing, clinical trials, and cutting-edge therapies they might not have access to otherwise.
"After a lifetime taking care of cancer patients, telling a patient or a family member 'there is nothing left to do' just got harder and harder," said Ken Dixon, M.D., FACS, founder of SpeciCare. "I have always hated delivering that news and that feeling has pushed me to want access to more options when standard-of-care treatments fail."
About three years ago, Dixon recognized the growing power of tumor tissue in being able to guide precision treatments for cancer. Today, SpeciCare looks to serve the vast majority of cancer patients who receive their care in community settings, but offering a way for them to collect and store their live tumor tissue, which the patient can use to help connect them with research and, potentially, clinical trials that can be of benefit in their care journey.
"In today's growing revolution of personalized cancer therapies, saving as much available tumor tissue from each patient is now more important than ever. Discarding valuable tumor tissue is no longer an option, and keeping as much of it as possible is needed to derive critical data to drive the best treatment decisions," said Laszlo Radvanyi, Ph.D., past senior vice president and head of Immuno-Oncology Research at EMD Serono and current chair SpeciCare’s Advisory Board. "SpeciCare is uniquely positioning itself to be a central hub to acquire, process and bank tumors from individual patients to derive critical genetic and functional data guiding not only more individualized therapies but also as a valuable source of tissue for research on more highly effective cancer therapies."
Under the company’s model, tumor tissue will still be used locally to diagnose and stage cancers. But bio banking additional individual patient tumor tissue by SpeciCare opens the door to for its use in a number of different applications for treatment, including tumor sequencing, personalized therapies, clinical trials, and organoid creation among others.
In addition to serving the patient’s needs and providing them and their doctors with a needed pathway to the personalized treatments available at leading cancer centers, SpeciCare also intends to make tissue it collects from patients available to leading researchers in the field.