Precision oncology using ex vivo technology: a step towards individualised cancer care? Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract Despite advances in cancer genomics and the increased use of genomic medicine, metastatic cancer is still mostly an incurable and fatal disease. With diminishing returns from traditional drug discovery strategies, and high clinical failure rates, more emphasis is being placed on alternative drug discovery platforms, such as ex vivo approaches. Ex vivo approaches aim to embed biological relevance and inter-patient variability at an earlier stage of drug discovery, and to offer more precise treatment stratification for patients. However, these techniques also have a high potential to offer personalised therapies to patients, complementing and enhancing genomic medicine. Although an array of approaches are available to researchers, only a minority of techniques have made it through to direct patient treatment within robust clinical trials. Within this review, we discuss the current challenges to ex vivo approaches within clinical practice and summarise the contemporary literature which has directed patient treatment. Finally, we map out how ex vivo approaches could transition from a small-scale, predominantly research based technology to a robust and validated predictive tool. In future, these pre-clinical approaches may be integrated into clinical cancer pathways to assist in the personalisation of therapy choices and to hopefully improve patient experiences and outcomes.


  • Williams, Sophie T
  • Wells, Greg
  • Conroy, Samantha
  • Gagg, Hannah
  • Allen, Richard
  • Rominiyi, Ola
  • Helleday, Thomas
  • Hullock, Katie
  • Pennington, Catherine EW
  • Rantala, Juha
  • Collis, Spencer J
  • Danson, Sarah J

publication date

  • 2022