Tumor Banking

Tumor Banking

The process is simple, but because each tumor is unique, a patient navigator is assigned to explain the details.


Things you should know

  • Each tumor is unique and holds important information, but tumors are routinely discarded during surgery
  • Your tumor plays a vital role in determining your treatment options and is required for the most effective diagnostics and treatments
  • Preserving your tumor in the right format (especially alive) offers you more treatment options

Benefits of Preserving Tumor Alive

  • Every patient and oncologist should challenge the standard of care. Only by recognizing that each patient is different and that traditional treatments have significant limitations can oncologists begin to design and recommend personalized, effective treatments. Live tumor cells are required to awaken your immune system to fight cancer, to experiment with chemo in the lab rather than on your body, and to target cancer cells while sparing your healthy cells.

What are Cancer Vaccines?

  • Even after surgery, cancer cells typically remain in the body and blood stream. Cancer vaccines are a type of immunotherapy designed to clean the body of these cells so cancer does not recur. Cancer vaccines boost the immune system and stimulate it to help prolong time in remission, thus prolonging life. These vaccines require live cells. 90% of our clients use their tumor cells for cancer vaccines.​

With KeepMyTumor, you have full control over your tissue at all times. We take direction from you in terms of where and when to transfer specimens to clinical trials or other clinicians. .

KeepMyTumor processes all specimens on arrival and cannot refund fees once the tissue is processed. This is because we incur the cost of processing specimens regardless of the quality or volume of the specimen received, whether the specimen proves cancerous or not, whether the specimen yields a large number of cells or not, or whether the specimen is accepted and/or used by the desired final application.

Costs associated with first-time tissue cryopreservation are generally nominal, including a specially-prepared collection kit, shipping, custom processing and initial immunotherapy consultation. Where your individual costs may fall in that range depends on your specific situation. Please contact us to discuss details.

Call us immediately. While we typically ship each kit via overnight delivery, we understand that emergency (same-day) situations sometimes arise. We can also send instructions for collection and shipment without a kit.

To assure optimal viability, we ask that the tissue be packed and shipped on the same day it is removed from the body. We will track the shipment closely so our lab can prepared to process it immediately upon receipt.

Cells die over time, so delayed shipments, weekend or holiday deliveries that go wrong, courier mistakes, weather events, etc…could cause the tissue to deteriorate. We stay in very close contact with the courier when a shipment is en route. To date we have a 100% success record!

KeepMyTumor works for you, and you control your tissue. All tumors are processed on arrival and stored in our specialized labs . When you and your doctor decide to use it for testing or treatment, we take instructions from you. Simply make a request for us to prepare and transfer some or all of the tissue, and we’ll take care of the rest! Transfer fees apply.

Our storage facilities are state-of-the-art, with back-up systems in place for power outages. They can be fully operational for weeks without electricity.

Certain treatments (like cancer vaccines and TILs) and diagnostics (like chemo sensitivity testing) require live cancer cells. Cancer vaccines and TILs are manufactured from live cancer cells, and chemo sensitivity studies the response of the live cancer cells to certain drugs. These cells must be collected during surgery and preserved alive under strict sterile conditions.

All diseases. All sizes (including biopsies). Solid and fluid (ascites). Ascites is every bit as powerful as a solid tumor for most applications. In fact, it is sometimes more dense with cancer cells.

Here at KeepMyTumor, we appreciate that you’ll have a lot on your mind on your day of surgery. We have worked with many hospitals and cancer centers and our tumor collection and storage process has been designed to ensure simplicity for you and your surgical team. A collection kit with detailed instructions for your surgeon will be sent to you (or a family member) prior to your surgery. You simply hand it off to the surgical team on the day of surgery. We coordinate shipping details and streamline the logistics. We are available to answer any questions and to work with your medical team so you can concentrate on what’s most important – YOU!

Yes. If you're having surgery, it means tumor remains, even after chemo. Tissue that has been killed by the chemo will be trimmed away so we preserve only the cancerous tissue.

Options to re-format stored tissue are limited. Dead cells (flash frozen or in paraffin) cannot be brought back to life (viable). Similarly, once the tissue is digested into cells, it cannot be rebuilt back into tissue. For this reason, the more you tell us about your priorities or the final application the more we can help you store it in the right format from the beginning.

Cryopreserved tumor tissue can stay in storage for many, many years.

Yes, ascites is every bit as powerful as a solid tumor for most applications. In fact, it is sometimes more dense with cancer cells.

The simple answer is: store as much as possible. More tissue typically means more options, and the cost is the same for any volume you send us. All tissue is valuable; even a biopsy is useful. Also, if you have a small tumor, it does not necessarily mean you have a small number of cancer cells. Many factors play a role, including previous treatments that may have affected the viability of the cancer cells. The question of "enough" also depends on the desired application. Please call us so we can guide you through the decisions and help you prioritize based on the amount of tissue available.

No, hospitals routinely preserve tumor only in paraffin, which is dead. Currently, the only option to preserve tumor alive (viable) is to use KeepMyTumor. A handful of the large cancer centers may preserve tumors flash frozen, but this process also kills the cells. Viable (live) preservation is costly because it is difficult to handle within short timeframes and because it requires hours of delicate and sterile processing, but it is required for many of the advanced diagnostic and treatment options. KeepMyTumor can preserve viably and/or in multiple formats, and the patient maintains control of his/her tissue.

Yes, it is a fact that cancer evolves and mutates, which is why fighting cancer is so challenging (it is not only one disease, but a moving target). When a tumor is present, it is most often removed surgically, and so it is not possible to have access to tumor tissue at all times. But the original tumor tissue will not change so dramatically as to make it not useful or effective for creating a vaccine. Stored tumor is the only way to manufacture a whole tumor vaccine. It is recommended that tumor be stored from the very first surgery because there is never a guarantee that subsequent tumors will be accessible or that surgery will be possible with a recurrence.

Absolutely not. It is impossible to tell how many cancer cells are in a certain volume of tissue. If you have a small tumor, it does not necessarily mean you have a small number of cancer cells. Many factors play a role, including previous treatments you have had that may have affected the viability of the cancer cells, along with the stage and type of your cancer. Please call us so we can guide you through the decisions and help you prioritize based on the amount of tissue available.

Although current “standard of care” treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) can be effective in the short term for some types of cancer, more than 50% of cancer patients do not respond to traditional treatments, or they respond but eventually develop resistance, causing the cancer to recur. When cancer recurs, as few as 5% of people will respond to the next treatment suggested by the standard of care. It is nearly impossible to predict who might respond best. Vaccines are designed to complement, not replace, the standard of care, and they are appropriate for all patients (not just for advanced disease). Vaccines are designed to prolong the time in remission (often significantly), and they have virtually no side effects. Each person is unique and so is their tumor. Planning ahead means keeping all options open for the future; some of these options (such as personalized vaccines) will require live tumor tissue, which can only be collected at the time of surgery

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