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June 1, 2024 10 mins
A GAME-CHANGER FOR CHOOSING CANCER THERAPY HAS BEEN DEVELOPED THAT’S BEING CALLED A “BREAKTHROUGH, FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND LIVE CANCER TISSUE PROFILING” THAT PREDICTS THE MOST EFFECTIVE CANCER THERAPY FOR ANY GIVEN PATIENT. WE SPEAK WITH DR. CHRIS APFEL, FOUND & CEO OF “SAGE-MEDIC” DIAGNOSTIC CANCER TESTING COMPANY.
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(00:00):
Welcome to American Medicine Today, presentedby the Benati Spine Institute, featuring internationally
acclaimed inventor of the Benati Spine procedures, Alfred Benatti, MD. Here your
host Kimberly Burmel Benati and co hostEthan Yucker. Welcome to American Medicine Today.
I'm Kimberly Bremel Benatti alongside Ethan Yuckerand world renowned orthopedic surgeon, doctor

(00:21):
Alfred Benatti. So there's a gamechanger for choosing cancer therapy and has been
developed and it's being called a breakthrough, first of its kind, live cancer
tissue profiling that predicts the most effectivecancer therapy for any given patient. Joining
us to discuss is doctor Chris appfl, Founder and CEO of Sage medic Diagnostic

(00:42):
cancer testing Company. Thank you forjoining us, doctor Appful, Thank you
very much for having me. Certainlywell. Few people realize that nearly seventy
percent of laate stage cancer patients haveno objective response from first line chemotherapy.
Why is it so hit or misswell, because cancer is actually very difficult
and the seventy percent not having anobjective tumor response refers. For example,

(01:07):
to lung cancer patients at a latestage. Often diagnosed at a late stage,
it's often a so called polyclonal disease, and as a result, there
are many resistant cells already there thatare poly resistant against many therapies. So
tell us about your company, Sagemedic, why did you found it?
And then just sort of explain whatKimberly just mentioned. What are live cancer

(01:30):
tissue? What is that profile?Right? Right? Yeah? And in
a way, the lung cancer exampleis actually what triggered me to found Sage
medic. My dad was diagnosed withlung cancer at some time ago, and
he refused therapy when he realized thattreatment responses are so low. He has
taken care of my mother when shehad ovarian cancer and the treatment didn't work

(01:53):
in her last months of life andmade her only more miserable. And so
I thought, the future is herenow we are all talking about precision medicine
and genomic testing. And it wasonly then that I realized that only one
out of four patients have mutations thatwe understand, even less have than targeted
therapies that might work. And evenif you're hav a mutation for a target

(02:15):
therapy, even then it's not aguarantee that it will work. So most
patients nowadays still get chemotherapy despite allthe buzz around, and that's a hit
or miss because it cannot be predictedwith biomark or genomic testing. And so
what I said is as an intensivistan antethesiologist, and I've done actually quite

(02:36):
a bit of clinical research myself.I've actually published over one hundred papers I've
published in the New England Journal ofMedicine, so I know how research and
science works, and if a patienthas an infection, you basically take a
sample, cultivated and test which antibioticsworks best. So I was asking our
oncologists why are we not doing itwith a patient? Why are we trying

(02:59):
out a drug on a patient insteadof testing it first in vitro, And
the answer I got was, oh, it has been tried before, but
we know it doesn't work. Actually, I looked into this and there has
been significant research over the last decades. So I went through all the papers
and I believe I've found the solutionfor that, which actually made me leave

(03:23):
my day job at the University ofCalifornia in San Francisco. We founded this
on our own dime and we havenow, with the support of a wonderful
team, been able to develop aplatform where we have over eighty percent of
accuracy to predict which therapy, ifany, can work on a patient that
has failed current therapies. Well,let's back up real quick. You mentioned

(03:46):
a couple of different times genomic testing, and I know we've covered it on
the show before, but for thosewho have never heard of it, can
you sort of explain how that worksand how what you do at stage medical
is different. Yes. So,in genomic testing, you look at the
changes in the genome that you arefamiliar with that drive a tumor behavior,
and there are therapies that can targetthat, and unfortunately it doesn't work for

(04:11):
the majority of patients. What wedo is different in we take a biopsy,
a fresh biopsy. It needs tobe a viable tumor because the whole
is more than the sum of itsparts, and it will be shipped overnight
to us. We create hundreds andactually thousands of micro tumors out of this
biopsy that are similar to your originaltissue and reflect the tumor micro environment and

(04:35):
mimic what is going on in yourbody and how the tumor will respond as
closely as possible. It's your owntissue, and then we put drugs on
it, dozens of different therapies.These can be part of the NCC and
guidelines so that the on collagests canactually provide superior care within the standard of
care. Or if you have failedyour current treatments multiple times, then we

(04:59):
can and actually also test repurpose drugs. We can also test targeted therapy,
so we can test a wide rangeof drugs and therefore open no new opportunities
for patients that are under current standardtreatment. Failing that's incredible. What type
of turnaround time does it take?Well, the beauty is that, in
contrast to the academic research that hasbeen focused on organoids that usually need weeks

(05:23):
to months to grow, we actuallyhave a turnaround time of about seven to
ten days. And the reason forthat is we don't grow the tumors very
often. Tumors don't grow reliably,and therefore we want a test that works
for every patient so that we havealways an actionable information. Well, I
know very little about chemotherapy, butI always have a question why if we

(05:46):
have today tests that they are basedon the DNA that they can when a
tumor appears initially, and if youcan get these tests and then based on
DNA and analyze the DNA of thetumor and then treat the patient earlier,

(06:09):
because one of the problems that theysee with cancer is usually the people and
being treated at the very end ofthe disease, or at least in the
beginning, but not really paying attentionto what hype of a cell is creating
and in which area is located.And we have a test that it can

(06:30):
do that the DNA of the tumorcancer, the cell that they release DNA
by itself when dies will be analyzedand then you know immediately if these tumors
in the kinners in the land withwhatever it is, and then you can
have procedures dedicated to correct those problemsinitially and instead to be thinking and treating

(06:54):
the patient on the back part ofthe disease. I never understand why we
don't put an emphasis on that,and we always put the emphasis on create
new medications when we really know thatcancer is something needs to be tackled very
early. And if you do atest every year to the population and check

(07:17):
the DNA of the blood on possibilityof any type of a cancer. Then
you diagnose the cancer earlier, andyou correct the cancer earlier, and you
can have surgical procedures in ergency kidThey on the imagine the tumors and the
kidneys in the beginning, and thenyou can just amputate the kidney and the

(07:40):
solutions there. The same thing withbreast cancer, the same thing with stomach
cancer. We know where the canceris coming earlier, but we always are
looking for treatments at the end ofthe life of the person. I apologize
for my my comment, but Iunderstand what you are doing is fantastic.

(08:01):
I think is something that needs tobe done, but I think we need
to put an emphasis in a tacklethe cancer earlier, not late. I
have no arguments with you. Incontrast, I'm delighted you are bringing this
up, doctor Bonardi, because thereis now actually a pan cancer screening test
out there from GRAIL called Gallery Tests, and it's not covered by insurance.

(08:22):
There are health economic reasons for that, and it can help you to detect
cancers that are otherwise not screened atan early stage. Pancreatic cancers in stage
one, in stage two with sixtypercent of sensitivity and ninety nine point five
percent specificity, so these and it'sa pan cancer test. It can can

(08:43):
look at a wide range of testsof potential cancers in the blood at an
earlier stage. And the old sayingis a chance to cut, is a
chance to cure. If you canactually have a diagnose at stage one,
in stage two and you can actuallysurgically remove it, you may not need
eat chemo or agglevent therapy. Now, if you have lymph node involvements,
you will need edgement therapy, andthat's already where we come in. If

(09:07):
we actually are informed before the surgery, we can get a life tissue sent
to us. We can then helpthe oncologists to say which edgement therapy can
actually lead to increased survival. Andthen of course the later stage is still
the problem that we are facing withtoday. In the United States, six

(09:28):
hundred thousand patients die every year,which means every minute a cancer patient dies.
And I think we can change thisdramatically by actually providing the oncologist with
insight on therapeutic options and for thepatient that can actually lead to a significant
treatment that improves patient outcomes and inour mind also long term survival. Thank

(09:50):
you so much, Doctor Chris,appful for being on the program. What
you're doing is groundbreaking and can savecountless lives. Thank you for being on
the show. Thank you very muchfor having me. It's my pleasure.
Absolutely. Make sure you stay tuned. Coming up after the break, a
story of recovery. You're listening toAmerican Medicine Today.
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