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Application of the Microculture Kinetic (MiCK) Assay for Apoptosis to Drug Testing Sensitivity of Solid Tumors


Phase 2/Phase 3
18 Years
85 Years
Not Enrolling
Both
Breast Neoplasms, Lung Neoplasms, Ovarian Neoplasms, Sarcoma, Soft Tissue

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Trial Information

Application of the Microculture Kinetic (MiCK) Assay for Apoptosis to Drug Testing Sensitivity of Solid Tumors


Application of the Microculture Kinetic (MiCK) Assay for Apoptosis to Testing Drug
Sensitivity of Solid Tumors DiaTech Oncology, LLC

----------------------------------------------------------- 1.0 Background and
Rationale: Despite the use of aggressive treatment protocols, less than 10% of cancer
patients with an advanced disease respond to the therapy. There is a variety of different
cancer drug regimens, all of which have approximately the same probability of clinical
effectiveness. Identification of those patients who will or will not respond to a specific
chemotherapy is important for making decisions regarding chemotherapy regimens as well as
alternative management approaches. A laboratory test that could help to determine the
sensitivity of an individual patient's tumor cells to specific chemotherapeutic agents would
be valuable in choosing the optimal chemotherapy regimen for that patient with an
expectation of increasing the response rate to the therapy. Several types of in vitro
assays that measure tumor cell survival following exposure to cytotoxic agents have been
evaluated for their ability to predict chemotherapy outcomes. As a group, these assays are
referred to as drug resistance assays. In a resistance assay, the surviving tumor cells can
be detected directly by their exclusion or metabolism of specific dyes. Alternatively,
since some of tumor cells are proliferating, their survival can be detected by measurement
of DNA synthesis by radiolabeled precursor incorporation or demonstration of clonogenic
potential by growth into colonies in semi-solid culture medium. In several clinical studies,
these assays were useful in detecting drug resistance and in predicting a poor prognosis for
cancer patients. However, these resistance assays cannot detect sensitivity of an individual
patient's tumor cells to a specific drug. Therefore, new methods determining
drug-sensitivity of the tumor cells of an individual patient and, thus, capable of both
predicting a positive treatment outcome and guiding chemotherapy, would be of significant
value.

Recently, Dr. Kravtsov has developed an automated microculture kinetic (MiCK) assay for
measuring drug induced apoptosis in tumor cells1-4. Apoptosis is a distinct mode of cell
death which occurs under physiological conditions and yet can be induced in malignant cells
by chemical and physical factors including antitumor drugs5-7. During the last decade, it
has been recognized that chemotherapeutic agents exert their antitumor activity by
triggering apoptosis in susceptible tumor cells8-17. This implies that the MiCK assay for
apoptosis provides a mechanism-based approach to studying effects of cytotoxic agents on
tumor cells. Unlike "resistance" assays that measure a fraction of cells surviving drug
exposure, the MiCK assay measures a fraction of tumor cells killed by a chemotherapeutic
agent via mechanism of apoptosis. Therefore the MiCK assay determines drug sensitivity,
rather than resistance. Recently the MiCK assay has been shown to predict complete
remission rate and survival in acute myeloid leukemia patients better than clinical criteria
did18-20. In a limited study, the MiCK assay has been used to direct chemotherapy of the
leukemia patients 21.

The MiCK assay has also been used to study drug-induced apoptosis in solid tumors, including
neuroblastoma and colon adenocarcinoma cell lines22-23. More recent data accumulated by
DiaTech has demonstrated that the MiCK assay can detect drug induced apoptosis in primary
cultures of tumor cells isolated from patients with ovarian carcinoma, gastric carcinoma,
metastatic breast cancer and high grade soft tissue sarcoma. Based on these data, we suggest
that the MiCK assay may be used to detect drug sensitivity profiles of individual patients
with various types of solid tumors. This, in turn, may provide a way to tailor chemotherapy
to an individual patient's drug sensitivity profile, and, thus, improve treatment outcomes,
decrease adverse effects of the chemotherapy, increase the quality of patient's life, and
reduce the treatment cost.

2.0 Study Objectives: 2.1 To evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to predict the
outcome of chemotherapy of cancer patients.

2.2 To evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to guide chemotherapy of cancer patients.

3.0 Patient Population:

3.1 Inclusion criteria: 3.1.1 Patients with pathological diagnoses of breast, lung, and
ovarian adenocarcinomas and soft tissue sarcoma.

3.1.2 Patients with de novo malignancies and no previous chemotherapy 3.1.3 Patients with
advanced refractory malignancies who received no more than 2 standard chemotherapy treatment
protocols.

3.1.4 Patients of any age group. 3.1.5 Patients must have tumor which is accessible and
agree to undergo biopsies, or drainage of effusions.

3.1.6 Patients for whom chemotherapy is a treatment option. 3.2 Explanations: We anticipate
that newly diagnosed patients will be mostly used to evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay
to predict the outcome of the chemotherapy (Objective #2.1) and to establish criteria
correlating numerical response in the MiCK assay with probability of the clinically
established complete remission. The patients with refractory malignancies will be mostly
used to evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to guide cancer chemotherapy (Objective
#2.2). Patients will be seen and managed as outpatients or inpatients, depending on a
clinical standard of the institution.

3.3 Exclusion criteria: 3.3.1 Patients with symptomatic/uncontrolled parenchymal brain
metastasis and not accessible tumors.

3.3.2 Patients with meningeal metastasis. 3.3.3 Patients for whom chemotherapy clinically is
not indicated. 3.3.4 Pregnancy. During the course of the study, all patients of childbearing
potential should be instructed to contact the treating physician if they suspect they might
have conceived a child; for females, a missing or late menstrual period should be reported
to the treating physician. If pregnancy is confirmed by a pregnancy test, the patient must
not receive study medication and must not be enrolled into the study or, if already
enrolled, must be withdrawn from the study. If a male patient is suspected of having
fathered a child while on the study drugs, the pregnant female partner must be notified and
counseled regarding the risk to the fetus. Pregnancy during the course of this study will be
reported to the Principal Investigator as a serious adverse event. Women of child bearing
potential are defined to include any female who has experienced menarche and has not
undergone successful surgical sterilization (hysterectomy, bilateral tubal ligation, or
bilateral oophorectomy) or is not post-menopausal (defined as amenorrhea for more than 12
consecutive months); these includes also females using oral, implanted, or injectable
contraceptive hormones, mechanical devices, or barrier methods to prevent pregnancy.

4.0 Treatment Plan: 4.1 For the patients involved under the Study Objective (2.1), treatment
protocol for an individual will not be influenced by the results of the MiCK assay for that
patient. Oncologists will be blinded of the results of the MiCK assay and the patients will
be treated according to a standard treatment protocol. When available, actual clinical
response to the treatment will be compared with that predicted by the MiCK assay.

4.2 For the patients involved under the Study Objective (2.2), treatment protocol for an
individual patient will be designed based on the results of the MiCK assay for that
patient. The drug with the best activity in the assay will be used to treat the individual
patients. If more than one drug is equally active, the patient will receive the active drug
in a class he/she has not received before. If no drug is found to have activity
(insensitivity in the assay), the patients will be treated on an empiric basis with a class
of drug he/she never received in the past.

5.0 Definition of Clinical Response 5.1 All patients will be evaluated for clinical response
to chemotherapy as per standard protocol established for a specific malignancy.

5.1.1 Complete Remission is defined as total disappearance of clinically and radio logically
detectable disease for at least four weeks.

5.1.2 Partial Response is defined as at least 50% reduction of all measurable tumor lesions
as measured by the sum of products of the perpendicular diameters of the greatest dimensions
of measurable lesions, with no new lesions appearing for at least four weeks.

5.1.3 Stable Disease is defined as a reduction by less than 50% or increase by less than 25%
in the size of the tumor lesions, with no new lesions appearing.

5.1.4 Progressive Disease is defined as appearance of any new tumor lesions or increase of
25% or more in the sum of products of the perpendicular diameters of the greatest dimensions
of measurable existing lesions.

6.0 Definition of the drug response in the MiCK assay. 6.1 In the MiCK assay, the extent
of drug-induced apoptosis is measured in Kinetic Units (KU) on a scale from 0 to 16 (Blood,
1998). Apoptotic responses in KU will be calculated for each dose of a tested drug or drug
combination. The maximal numerical response induced by a drug will be considered the "best
apoptotic response" to the drug.

6.1.1 Under the Study Objective (2.1), the "best apoptotic response" to the drug will be
compared to the clinical response to the drug to establish a numerical value of the in vitro
response discriminating drug-sensitive and drug-insensitive tumors (establishing a
numerical cut-off of sensitivity). From our experience with establishing cut-off values of
drug sensitivity for acute leukemia, 25-30 patients should provide a sufficient statistical
power for getting a significant discriminator. These 25-30 patients will be fed from both
patients participating under Study Objective (2.1) and Study Objective (2.2). After the
numerical cut-off for sensitivity is established, it will be applied to a cohort of
patients who received treatment with the drug to compare responses predicted in the MiCK
assay to the actual clinical responses. This second part of the study will have two legs:
(a) "prospective" (using 30-35 patients entering the study after establishing the
discriminator, and (b) "retrospective" (using an available database of the patients who
received treatment in the past and who's clinical response to the chemotherapy is known).

6.1.2 For the patients participating under the Study Objective (2.2), a drug inducing the
highest "best apoptotic response" will be considered the best active drug and will be
recommended for including in the treatment protocol. Only drugs with the numerical value of
the "best apoptotic response" exceeding a certain threshold should be expected to induce a
complete remission. In the beginning of the study, such a threshold will be judged based on
the results of the previous leukemia study19-22. As first 25-30 patients enter the study,
the thresholds will be established for solid tumor patients as described in (6.1.1) and
used thereafter. Considering that these 25-30 patients will be fed from both patients
participating under Study Objective (2.1) and Study Objective (2.2), we expect to have first
statistical correlations available no later than 3-4 months after the study begins.

6.1.3 Drug selection for testing against tumor cells will be based on the previous
chemotherapy history of an individual patient with consideration of the future treatment
plans. The drugs will be selected from a compendium of agents recommended for the treatment
of the patient's malignancy.

7.0 Statistics 7.1 We estimate that sufficient statistical power will be obtained with
approximately 50-60 patients with successful MiCK assays. A successful MiCK assay is defined
as an assay for which a sufficient number of viable tumor cells could be isolated from the
submitted pathologic material. For correlations between the patient's sensitivity profiling
in the MiCK assay and clinical responses, the patients will be evaluated as the whole group
as well as stratified based on the type of malignancy. The latter will depend on the number
of patients with specific tumor types available for the study.

7.2 In order to discriminate between the drug-sensitive and drug insensitive tumor cell
populations, the best responses to each agent will be compared in a receiver operator
characteristic (ROC) analysis as well as logistic regression analysis with attainment of CR
(CR vs No CR). Based on the best combination of statistical sensitivity, specificity, and p
value, thresholds demarcating drug sensitivity and insensitivity will be established. The
Fisher's exact test, chi-square test and analysis of variance method will be employed to
test the correlation between the clinical response results and other clinical variables.
For lifetime data analyses, Kaplan-Meier estimates of survival will be used. Other
statistical techniques may also be implied if found useful.

8.0 Specimen collection, purification of tumor cells and sensitivity testing 8.1 Specimen
collection must be performed as per related DiaTech Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

8.1.1 Collection of a Solid Tumor Biopsy Specimen is performed under sterile conditions,
using excision biopsy technique, to obtain at least 2 cm3 of viable tumor tissue. The more
viable tumor tissue is submitted for the study, the more chemotherapeutic agents can be
tested against the tumor cells. Effusion specimen (peritoneal fluid, pleural fluid and
effusions from other anatomical sites) should be collected in a commercial sterile
container/bag with added Sodium Heparin (10 U/ml) to prevent clotting. The sample size
should not be less than 500 ml. The specimen should not be fixed, or frozen.

8.1.2 Transportation: seal the transport tube/container/bag tightly. Label specimen with
institution, patient name, date and time of collection, and anatomical site of collection.
Place the transport tube/container/bag on ice pack (blue ice). Ice pack must be frozen
before placing it to the container. Fill out the Study Requisition form and include with the
transportation container.

8.1.3 Place the 50 mL tubes or a container inside the zip-lock bag and seal. Place specimen
and Cold Pak (blue ice) in a transport box. Place completed patient information forms and
specimen transport box into FedEx plastic "Diagnostic Specimen Envelope" and seal. Complete
and affix the FedEx Airbill to the outside of the Diagnostic Specimen Envelope. Be sure
that the airbill is marked "FedEx Priority Overnight" delivery. Put $5 value on the FedEx
Airbill. Indicate "Human tissue for diagnostic studies" in the appropriate section of the
FedEx Airbill. Call DiaTech Oncology at (514)-398-5174 (Steve Moisan, lab manager) or
(514)-398-5154 (general lab) with the Fed Ex Tracking Number. DiaTech must receive the
specimen within 24 hours of collection. Specimens sent on Friday must be marked for Saturday
delivery.

8.2 Tumor cell purification and their chemosensitivity testing will be performed as per
related DiaTech SOPs.

8.2.1 Tissue biopsy and effusion specimens will be treated to obtain a suspension containing
single tumor cells and/or small cell aggregates composed of 2-20 tumor cells. Using gradient
centrifugation, red blood cell lysing, cell strainers, magnetic beads and other appropriate
techniques, the tumor cell suspension will be enriched to at least 80% purity and no less
than 90% viability. Immunocytochemical stains or, when applicable, flow cytometry will be
used to confirm the presence of specific tumor markers on purified cells After purification,
selected chemotherapeutic agents will be tested against purified tumor cells in the MiCK
assay.

8.2.2 The purified tumor cells will be suspended in culture medium and plated in 96-well
microtiter plates. Multiple concentrations of chemotherapeutic agents will be achieved by
adding each respective agent to wells in 5 μL aliquots The ranges of final drug
concentrations will be based on reports of pharmacokinetic studies of the drugs and their
active metabolites in patients. Data processing and quantification of drug-induced apoptosis
will be performed by a proprietary ProApoTestTM software. The extent of apoptosis will be
determined and expressed as kinetic units (KU) of apoptosis.

9.0 Efficacy measurement 9.1 For patients participating under Study Objective (2.1), the
goal of the study is to establish a statistically significant discriminator of sensitivity
which would correlate with the rate of CR. Such discriminator should be applicable to
patient's populations participating under Study Objectives (2.1) and (2.2).

9.2 For patients participating under Study Objective (2.2), we would expect no greater than
a 10% response rate in refractory solid tumor patients to any standard chemotherapy. A
response rate to the MiCK assay-guided therapy of less than 10% would be of no further
interest. A response rate of 10-30% will suggest the MICK assay needs further study. A
response rate greater than 30% would justify usefulness of the MiCK assay in guiding
chemotherapy of patients with refractory solid tumors.

10.0 Specimen's left over 10.1 If a specimen contains more tumor cells than needed for
testing their sensitivity to the drugs specified by the patient's oncologist, an excess of
the tumor cells may be considered for use for other research studies conducted by DiaTech
Oncology. Patients will be asked for their permission to use specimen's left over for
research purposes by signing the following release included in the requisition form: "You
are participating in the Research Program which may result in improvements of the treatment
outcome for cancer patients. There is no direct benefit for you at present time. Your
physician is submitting to DiaTech a specimen containing your tumor cells. At DiaTech, we
purify the tumor cells, count them, check their viability, and store them in the DiaTech
Tissue Bank. All these procedures are performed at no cost to you or your family. Your cells
may be used for the chemosensitivity testing for research purposes or in other studies.
Results of the research may be published, or used commercially in the area of new
anti-cancer drug or treatment protocol development. To assure your privacy, should the
results of the studies be published, you will be referred to only by number. Your signature
below indicates that you agree to these terms".

If a patient refuses to sign the above release, the specimen's left over will be
decontaminated using 10% formaldehyde for 24h and discarded as per related SOP. If a patient
grants his/her permission for use on the specimen's left over in a future research, an
excess of the tumor cells will be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen indefinitely.

10.2 Specimen's left over may be used to study anti-tumor effects of chemotherapeutic
drugs or drug combinations, to study mechanisms of drug resistance, to correlate phenotypic
features of the tumor cells with their drug sensitivity profile.

11.0 Plan of communication between Principal Investigator and co-Principal Investigator.

To insure proper communication between Vladimir Kravtsov, MD, the Study Principal
Investigator, and participating co-Principal Investigator the following communication means
will be used: FedEx delivery of the printed materials, Phone & Fax, E-mail,
Video-conferencing

11.1 At the time of submission of the patient's specimen for the study, relevant clinical
information will be submitted to DiaTech in the form of a study requisition form prepared by
the participating co-PI (or designated staff nurse) using FedEx courier service.

11.2 Upon receiving the specimen and requisition form and after purification of tumor cells
from the specimen, Dr. Kravtsov will place a telephone call to the referring oncologist
(co-PI) to discuss the case.

11.3 Upon completion of the patient's tumor drug sensitivity testing, results will be
scored and introduced to the study data base. Dr. Kravtsov will issue a study report and it
will be faxed to the referring oncologist no later than 96h after receiving the specimen.
After faxing the report, Dr. Kravtsov will call the referring oncologist to discuss the
results.

11.4 After each 2 cycles of therapy, the patient's treatment response will be evaluated by
the referring oncologists (co-PI). A study Response Evaluation Form (see attached) will be
filled out and faxed to DiaTech to be included in the study data base.

11.5 After data from first ten consecutive patients are collected, a telephone or video
conference will be scheduled between Dr. Kravtsov and the co-PI to summarize to discuss the
preliminary results.

11.6 After data from first 30 consecutive patients are collected, an interim statistical
analysis will be performed and Dr. Kravtsov will visit the participating hospital to present
and discuss the results with the co-Principal investigator.

11.7 At the end of the first year, statistical analysis of the accumulated data will be
performed and all participating co-PIs will be invited to a conference (place to be
determined) to discuss the results.

11.8 DiaTech Study coordinator (Mr. Garry Latimer) will contact each site co-PI or a
designated nurse monthly to assure proper supply of transportation containers and to address
administrative issues.

11.9 All communication between the study coordinator and the participating oncology practice
will be documented, reported to the Principal Investigator, and discussed with the
co-Principal Investigator.

APPENDIX A

TREATMENT PLAN ALGORITHM FOR STUDY OBJECTIVE 2.1

Study Objective 2.1: To evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to predict the outcome of
chemotherapy of patients with solid tumors for first- and second-line treatments.

Chemotherapeutic agent(s) to be included in the treatment protocol are selected by a medical
oncologist based on published standards and treatment guidelines.

Chemotherapy of the patient is initiated as per clinical treatment protocol and the
oncologist discretion.

Name(s) of the drug(s) selected for the treatment is provided to the DiaTech lab along with
the tumor material obtained from the patient.

Tumor cells purified from the patient's specimen are tested for their sensitivity to the
drugs selected for the patient's treatment.

Results of the drug sensitivity testing are scored and introduced to the study database.

After each cycle of therapy, the patient is evaluated for the response to the treatment as
per established criteria (clinical exam, CT, tumor markers).

Actual treatment response to the drug is compared with the drug scoring in the in vitro drug
sensitivity test.

APPENDIX B

TREATMENT PLAN ALGORITHM FOR STUDY OBJECTIVE 2.2

Study objective 2.2: To evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to guide chemotherapy of
cancer patients in a third line, refractory treatment setting.

Chemotherapeutic agents available for the treatment are identified by a medical oncologist
based on published standards and treatment guidelines.

Names of the drugs are provided to the DiaTech lab along with the tumor material obtained
from the patient.

Tumor cells purified from the patient's specimen are tested for their sensitivity to the
drugs selected by the patient's oncologist.

Results of the drug sensitivity testing are scored, introduced to the study database, and
reported to the medical oncologist.

The drug with the best anti-tumor activity in the assay is used to treat the patient.

After each cycle of therapy, the patient is evaluated for the response to the treatment as
per established criteria (clinical exam, CT, tumor markers).


Inclusion Criteria:



- Patients with pathological diagnoses of breast, lung, and ovarian adenocarcinomas and
soft tissue sarcoma.

- Patients with de novo malignancies and no previous chemotherapy

- Patients with advanced refractory malignancies who received no more than 2 standard
chemotherapy treatment protocols.

- Patients of any age group.

- Patients must have tumor which is accessible and agree to undergo biopsies, or
drainage of effusions.

- Patients for whom chemotherapy is a treatment option.

Exclusion Criteria:

- Patients with symptomatic/uncontrolled parenchymal brain metastasis and
non-accessible tumors.

- Patients with meningeal metastasis.

- Patients for whom chemotherapy is not clinically indicated.

- Pregnancy. During the course of the study, all patients of childbearing potential
should be instructed to contact the treating physician if they suspect they might
have conceived a child; for females, a missing or late menstrual period should be
reported to the treating physician. If pregnancy is confirmed by a pregnancy test,
the patient must not receive study medication and must not be enrolled into the study
or, if already enrolled, must be withdrawn from the study. If a male patient is
suspected of having fathered a child while on the study drugs, the pregnant female
partner must be notified and counseled regarding the risk to the fetus. Pregnancy
during the course of this study will be reported to the Principal Investigator as a
serious adverse event. Women of childbearing potential are defined to include any
female who has experienced menarche and has not undergone successful surgical
sterilization (hysterectomy, bilateral tubal ligation, or bilateral oophorectomy) or
is not post-menopausal (defined as amenorrhea for more than 12 consecutive months);
this also includes females using oral, implanted, or injectable contraceptive
hormones, mechanical devices, or barrier methods to prevent pregnancy.

Type of Study:

Interventional

Study Design:

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Caregiver), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Outcome Measure:

To evaluate the ability of the MiCK assay to predict the outcome of chemotherapy of cancer patients

Outcome Time Frame:

After chemotherapy

Safety Issue:

No

Principal Investigator

Cary Presant, MD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Medical Director DiaTech Oncology

Authority:

United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:

20050113

NCT ID:

NCT00243685

Start Date:

September 2006

Completion Date:

May 2009

Related Keywords:

  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Sarcoma, Soft Tissue
  • Chemosensitivity
  • Chemotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Apoptosis
  • MiCK Assay
  • New Technology
  • Patients with pathological diagnoses of breast, lung, and ovarian adenocarcinomas and soft tissue sarcoma
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Neoplasms
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Sarcoma

Name

Location

Cancer Care Centers of South TexasSan Antonio, Texas  78229
Nashville Breast CenterNashville, Tennessee  37203
Nashville Oncology AssociatesNashville, Tennessee  37203