DiagnoSYS Automation System
whether a cytostatic (= a natural or synthetic substance that inhibits cell growth or cell division) in a cancer patient acts or not, can be pre-study in tests. But the conventional, mostly manual methods are complicated and expensive. That is why they are hardly used. A team of Fraunhofer researchers, the DITABIS Digital Biomedical Imaging Systems AG and researchers of the University Hospital of Tübingen has developed a low-cost, automated system that can determine the most effective drugs individually with the doctors before the start of chemotherapy.
The doctors mostly use chemotherapy. The cytostatic drugs used to selectively inhibit the growth of cancer cells. But the patients react very differently to the various preparations. With in vitro sensitivity tests you can already search before therapy for the most effective medicine. However, the current methods are very expensive and are therefore they are not paid by the statutory health insurance. So this approach of personalized medicine in cancer therapy is rarely used.
To this end a Magnetic Cell Separation technology is used. Thereby antibodies are provided with magnetic particles. These recognize specific structures on the surface of tumor cells and bind to it. So the tumor cells can be selectively separated. Subsequently, the tumor cells are cultivated with various cytostatic drugs. To determine which drugs have the cells actually killed and which drugs do not affect, an ATP luminescence assay is performed. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a universal energy carrier in living cells. The lower the ATP content of a sample, the more effective is the drug. To determine the ATP level, the molecule is quantitatively detected by a luminescent dye. The entire process is automated and runs under sterile conditions. This increases the quality of the investigation and makes it more stable to manual interference.
The new method can help to reduce health care costs because ineffective chemotherapies can be avoided. The system is modular. It can easily be adapted to changing requirements.