Invitrocue’s Onco-PDO Test – Singapore’s & World’s 1st Validated & Approved Clinical Cancer Drug Screening Service for Personalised Oncology

A cancer diagnosis can upturn an entire family’s lives. Rounds and rounds of treatment with no end in sight.

But what if there was an end in sight? Or at least a light at the end of the tunnel that leads to it?

Invitrocue, Singapore’s leading biotechnology and medical innovation company, has achieved a breakthrough in clinical drug testing with Onco-PDO, their personalised oncology drug test. Available in Invitrocue-owned clinical laboratory licenced by Ministry of Health (MOH), Onco-PDO is the first clinical cancer drug screening test in Singapore that looks to personalise treatments by improving the efficiency of chemotherapy regimes through testing using patients’ own cancer cells, reducing overall treatment costs and time.

Backed by more than eight years of cumulative validation data, the Onco-PDO test is built on Invitrocue’s proprietary 3D liver cancer organoid tissue engineering technology, initially developed jointly with A*STAR’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Genome Institute of Singapore in 2012.

Onco-PDO test is CE marked in Europe and in February this year, it has been approved to be covered under National Public Healthcare Insurance in Germany.

The test equips clinicians and oncologists with critical data to prioritise drugs that demonstrate optimal results in targeting each patients’ cancer cells with 75 – 80% positive predictive accuracy and >90% negative prediction rate, depending on cancer type. For patients experiencing relapses or showing no response to multiple treatments, Onco-PDO identifies drugs to which their tumours are either responsive or resistant, thereby improving their response to specific cancer treatments.

Dr. Steven Fang (PhD) , Co-Founder & Executive Director of Invitrocue, explains that every cancer tumour is unique, hence requiring a personalised approach. With Onco-PDO as an invaluable clinical tool, oncologists can accurately personalise cancer drugs and dosing strategies for each patient:

“The published literature for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and ovarian cancer tells a sobering tale, with success rates for chemotherapy treatments driven by general population-based data3-9 currently ranging from 4% to a modest 48%. Due to the heterogenous and unique nature of malignant tumours, patients often have to endure multiple rounds of treatment before finding an efficacious regime.”

The Science Behind Onco-PDO

Traditional laboratory procedures for testing patient-derived cancer cells against chemotherapy agents can take months, and are typically used for research purposes rather than clinical applications.

Through Onco-PDO, a patient’s tumour cells are obtained through surgery or biopsy, then subjected to cell scaffolding technology to simulate their responses to various drugs outside the body. Each test can assess the 3D cells against up to eight chemotherapy agents, generating a detailed report on their responsiveness to each drug within a clinically relevant timeframe of just 10 to 14 days.

Championing Singapore’s National Plans

With close to 130 approved chemotherapy drugs available for testing, Onco-PDO is pushing the frontiers of precision medicine, in line with Singapore’s 10-year National Precision Medicine Strategy.

Cancer is the top killer in Singapore, accounting for nearly 24% of deaths in 2022. And cancer treatment is expensive, with each cycle costing up to five-figure sums, notwithstanding consultation and administrative costs. What Onco-PDO looks to do is to provide an added support for oncologists and patients by potentially cutting down the treatment time and total costs of treatment,”

– Dr Steven Fang (PhD), Co-Founder & Executive Director of Invitrocue

The test will be available to patients in Singapore through their oncologists and is available at MOH-licensed clinical laboratories across Singapore. To facilitate the adoption of this technology, Invitrocue will also offer comprehensive training to oncologists across hospitals and clinics on the logistics and administration of the test. To start the process, tumour samples can be done by way of surgical resection or core biopsy at the hospital and then forwarded to Invitrocue’s clinical laboratory for the test to begin.

Currently, the test can be performed for patients with breast, ovarian, lung, colorectal, pancreatic, liver, gastric cancers, as well as head and neck cancers. Invitrocue is actively exploring opportunities to expand its application to other cancer types soon.

To achieve global scalability, Invitrocue is actively collaborating with medical partners and oncologists worldwide to advance its technology, potentially including immunotherapy drug testing. Invitrocue now operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Germany, with a recent expansion into Malaysia. The company plans to expand into more countries in the Southeast Asia region and has already garnered significant interest from patients and clinicians in the United States.

For more information about the Onco-PDO test and Invitrocue’s innovative medical solutions, please visit Invitrocue’s website at www.invitrocue.com/oncology/onco-pdo.


Images: Invitrocue

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