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Groundbreaking Cancer Research May Help Chemo Patients
July 5, 2013

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox Groundbreaking cancer research going on right here in Huntington could soon change the way patients are treated.

"This is definitely a cutting edge technology for the 21st century for cancer patients," said Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio, a biomedical sciences researcher and professor at Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

It's technology that Dr. Claudio and a fellow professor have been collaborating on for years. Dr. Claudio and Dr. Jagan Valluri have teamed up to develop a chemosensitivity test for cancer patients called "ChemoID". It's the first chemosensitivity test for both cancer stem-like cells and bulk tumor cells.

"It's going to be able to identify more effective chemotherapies on an individualized basis for patients," said Dr. Claudio.

They reproduce cancer stem cells from a biopsied tumor and try different therapies to see which one best treats the cancer. "The value of this process is the patient's biopsy undergoes several rounds of chemo before the patient actually does," Dr. Valluri said.

They say that not only improves patient outcomes, but also could spare them from unnecessary chemotherapy.

"It's a great tool in prolonging their lives," said Dr. Valluri.

About one hundred patients have already gone through clinical trials, and although more evaluation is needed, so far, the ChemoID has been 100 percent effective in predicting what drug will work best to treat the cancer.

"You have a one-two punch so you have a greater chance for cancer not to come back because you are not only knocking off the bulk but also the root that is fueling that bulk," said Dr. Valluri.

Next week on "Healthy For Life," we'll take a look at what's next for the chemosensitivity test, and how soon it could be mainstream.

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