After the first shock of a tumor diagnosis many sufferers deal intensively with their illness. Most of them are very well informed after a short time about therapy options, alternative treatment methods, support groups and research approaches. But only very few people know what happens to their tumor tissue after surgery.
The short-term use is clear: The tissue is examined in a laboratory tissue to determine the tumor and determine if it has been cut far enough. Clinical-chemical examinations, such as a chemosensitivity test, can be used to determine further properties of the tumor so that further treatment can be specified more precisely and individually.
Put on the future
But over time, treatment methods may change, bringing forth new and innovative medicines and procedures. In order to be able to check whether these are suitable for the treatment of one's own tumor, one would have to resort to the tumor tissue. But in Germany, there is no law that obliges clinics to preserve tumor tissue for a long time, so that it will benefit patients and research later. The result may be in the worst case that the precious bio-material is destroyed after surgery and pathological evaluation.
Deep-fly according to the latest standards
Progress in molecular biology is leading deeper and deeper into the decoding of the information that human cells contain. This includes specific information from the tumor cells that could be used to begin a specific therapy tailored to the needs of the tumor and patient. Only at a few hospitals, predominantly research-oriented university hospitals, part of it is frozen to the latest standards. Because for an individual diagnosis and therapy it needs "living" - vital - tumor cells: With outdated preservation methods this does not work.
PA.TH - not only for breast cancer patients
To ensure that patients and researchers can access qualified tumor tissue years later, breast cancer patients and healthy women have founded the foundation PA.TH: PAtients Tumor Bank of Hope - The Patients' own tumor tissue bank of hope. PA.TH gives patients the opportunity to write their own living wills for the storage and recycling of their tissue. In addition, the foundation creates the possibility to have the tissue stored by a biotechnology company on the basis of a fee-based storage contract.
The stored tissue remains the property of the patient. It determines in a separate order about which therapeutic or diagnostic purposes the storage should take place. In addition, the consent is associated with the storage that the subsequent production of a tumor vaccine or drug by the company or the cooperation partner of the Foundation PA.TH is basically possible.
Anyone interested in storing their tumor tissue should get in touch with PA.TH at an early stage, as preparations and agreements must be made between the surgeon, the pathologist and the tumor bank in order to collect tissue and transport the tissue. The PA.TH Foundation is a funded project of the breast cancer initiative "mamazone - Women and Research Against Breast Cancer eV" and sees itself as a joint venture of patients, scientists, health professionals and cooperation partners from university institutes and industry.