Maintrac® diagnostics - before, during and after cancer therapy maintrac® is a blood test that allows us to detect cells that have left the tumor and entered the bloodstream.
Some of these so-called circulating (epithelial) tumor cells (CETCs / CTCs) may be responsible for metastases (metastatic spread) and thus responsible for further progression of the disease.
Using the maintrac® cell count, the extent to which a treatment appears to be successful can be monitored. For this assessment, the number of circulating cells is determined before the start of therapy and is compared to the number of cells during therapy. The resulting progression of results provides an indication of whether the cells are being destroyed by the cancer therapy, i.e., whether the patient is responding to the treatment. Should this not be the case, there is the possibility of testing other substances directly on the circulating tumor cells.
Monitoring cancer therapies with maintrac® Some substances are only effective in treating cancer if the tumor exhibits certain properties. maintrac® can determine if these therapy-relevant properties are present in tumor cells.
Only 15 ml of EDTA blood needs to be collected from the patient by the attending physician, or at the specialized medical laboratory Dr. Pachmann, which is then analyzed in the diagnostic laboratory.
Maintrac® helps each individual patient find a unique, personalized and effective therapy, allowing the success of therapy to be monitored.
The maintrac® diagnostics
The advantages of maintrac® are:
- therapy monitoring,
- pre-testing of medications,
- determination of therapy-relevant properties and
- early detection of new tumor activity.
Maintrac® can be used in almost all solid tumors.
Treatment success can be monitored both before the start of therapy and during therapy with maintrac® diagnostics. maintrac® can also be applied in metastatic situations, during hormone and maintenance treatments and "watch-and-wait" approaches (e.g., in prostate cancer or DCIS-type breast cancer).
The importance of maintrac® diagnostics has already been demonstrated in 15 studies with more than 940 patients. These publications, as well as many others on the subject of circulating tumor cells, can be found on the page. Publications.
Methodology of maintrac® analysis
Due to the high sensitivity of the techniques involved, CETCs / CTCs can be detected shortly after the diagnosis of a primary tumor, and as such a therapy decision can be made in a timely manner. This early detection is mainly based on the fact that maintrac® is highly sensitive because cells from the blood sample are analyzed in real-time, unlike other methods where cells are usually fixed, isolated or enriched. This allows a quantitative determination of CETCs / CTCs even in the early stages of the disease, and not only when a metastatic stage has been reached.
1. In addition to circulating epithelial cells, white blood cells (leukocytes) are also present in the blood. After lysis of erythrocytes (disintegration of red blood cells), the blood is tested for the presence of epithelial cells. A cell surface protein (EpCAM) can be found on the surface of epithelial cells, which is marked with a fluorescent antibody in the maintrac® process.
2. At the same time, propidium iodide is added, which can penetrate the cell membrane of dead cells, allowing dead (red/green colored) and living (green colored) cells to be distinguished from each other.
3. Using a fluorescence microscope, the marked cells can now be automatically identified and counted.
4. If the maintrac® diagnostic process is performed multiple times at defined time intervals, the results may reflect therapy success and tumor activity over the course of patient progression.