e: Autopsy Studies
We need to know where to direct the chemotherapy (to which regions) and how to do it, which depends on very many factors such as, for example, blood supply to metastatic tumors. To better understand where we need to go and how to get there, we are exploiting a unique resource at the National Cancer Institute: we are analyzing the bodies of patients who died from metastatic cancer (this is providing us with essential information on the late stages of the disease).
Below is a first schematic extracted from 18 cases we have analyzed so far. It show to which regions breast cancer metastasized (the 13/18 on the left lung means in 13 of 18 patients metastases were found in the left lung), this simply confirms information that is already known. However, we are now analyzing blood supply in different regions, to understand where nano-particles can and cannot be carried by the blood, and those tissue sections are providing new and valuable information.