maintrac® – The blood test for monitoring of tumor activity
maintrac® allows for a direct assessment of tumor activity, and the chance to check the effectiveness of the therapy being used. It means relapses can be detected early and in an ideal scenario, therapeutic approaches can be adapted in good time.
Generally, maintrac® can be used with all tumors of epithelial origin (=carcinomas), with the majority of clinical studies carried out involving breast cancer patients. The maintrac® analysis can only be employed for tracking process in cases of confirmed initial diagnosis of cancer, as other events, such as certain diseases, injuries, burns or surgeries can also lead to a short-term increase in the number of epithelial cells in the blood. Unlike the epithelial tumor cells, epithelial cells originating from healthy tissue are generally quickly (in a matter of days/ a few weeks) removed from the blood. Epithelial tumor cells, however, can remain in blood circulation or survive in the body’s tissues for years. For a more in-depth interpretation of the tracked cell numbers, it is important to know the exact circumstances of the patient.
What are the advantages of maintrac®?
1. Monitoring of therapy
maintrac® cell counts provide information on whether a cancer therapy is effective or not. If the number of cells decreases during therapy, this is normally an indication that the therapy is having an effect. If the cell count increases during the therapy period, this generally indicates that optimization of the therapy would be recommendable.
2. Analysis of drugs
maintrac® allows for prior testing of certain substances directly on the living circulating tumor cells. The critical factor to be determined here is which drug destroys the most circulating tumor cells. Thus, conclusions can be made about the likely effectiveness of therapy. Certain alternative substances can also be tested for their effectiveness.
3. Determination of therapy-relevant tumor properties
In order to tailor the therapy to each individual patient, certain properties of the tumor cells need to be analyzed. Different therapy-related properties, as well as any changes in these properties, can be identified by maintrac®, such that therapy can be promptly adapted if needed.
4. Early detection of renewed tumor activity
Using circulating tumor cells, maintrac® can monitor not only the therapy itself, but also the subsequent course of disease after completing therapy. In certain circumstances, it can also be beneficial to carry out a counting of circulating cells after finishing treatment as maintrac® can identify new cancer growth in its early stages.
[maintrac® currently represents an individual health service in Germany. Negotiations for coverage of costs by the statutory health insurance bodies are in progress.]