FAQ – personalised tumor therapy

Our FAQ is divided into two sections: For patients and for healthcare professionals. Should this page not answer all of your questions, please contact us by e-mail.

General questions

What distinguishes Reverse Clinical Engineering® from other methods like sequencing?

ASC Oncology’s method goes one step further. In gene sequencing, genetic material of the tumor is analyzed, which forms the template for the behavior of the tumor cell. The analysis can reveal gene alterations that have led to the development of cancer. For some of these alterations, so-called targeted therapies are available that target the altered features of cancer cells. However, genetic analysis cannot determine whether an individual patient will respond to a targeted therapy, as the method cannot answer this question.

This is where ASC Oncology’s test procedure comes in. The Reverse Clinical Engineering® examines the behavior of the tumor cell’s themselves rather than the genes or the template for the cell’s behavior. It tests in the laboratory whether a (targeted) therapy inhibits the growth of the tumor cells or not. In this way, a therapy can be selected that offers the best prospects of treatment success for the individual cancer patient.

What are the advantages of Reverse Clinical Engineering® for patients?

Cancer is a highly individual disease. Every tumor reacts differently to a chemotherapy, but this only becomes apparent in the course of treatment. If a patient’s tumor does not respond to a prescribed drug, an alternative treatment must be found quickly, the effectiveness of which also remains to be determined. This takes time, during which the cancer can continue to grow. Reverse Clinical Engineering® tests drug efficacy on your own tumor cells even before therapy begins, eliminating all the drugs which are unlikely to be effective and identifying those which have a high probability of being effective. This allows the optimal cancer drug for your disease to be selected right from the start.

Does the Reverse Clinical Engineering® increases the chances of cure?
Receiving the most suitable medicine at the earliest point of disease increases your chances of successful treatment. However, some patients are at a stage of disease where a cure is no longer possible. Successful treatment, though, can prolong life and improve quality of life.
How does Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure work?

Your treating physician removes a piece of cancer tissue during a scheduled surgery or biopsy and sends it directly to ASC Oncology’s laboratory. Our team of scientists grows the tumor cells in the laboratory to generate tiny 3D copies of the tumor, so-called tumor organoids. Using these copies, we can test all the drugs considered suitable for treating your tumor. Like this, the most effective cancer drug can be identified before starting treatment. Our results provide you and your physicians with the information needed to develop a personalized cancer therapy, enabling higher treatment success rates compared to the classical approach.

Does the Reverse Clinical Engineering® require additional interventions?
The fresh tissue sample required for the test procedure can be taken during an already scheduled tumor operation or biopsy. If no surgery or biopsy is planned, it is necessary to consult with the attending physicians regarding a separate tissue collection for the testing procedure.
My tumor has already been removed. Can I still undergo the test?
No. The Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure requires a fresh tissue sample of the tumor or metastasis. If the cancer spreads again, testing becomes possible, provided a tissue sample can be obtained by surgery or biopsy.
A tissue sample of the tumor has already been taken. Can this sample be used for the test procedure?

No, most likely not. Reverse Clinical Engineering® requires a fresh tissue sample with living tumor cells. Very rarely, it may happen that a tissue sample is stored in such a way that living cells can be obtained from it. However, this is very rarely the case. If you are unsure, please contact us and we will find out whether your sample is suitable.

I am very satisfied with the performance of my physician. Why should I use Reverse Clinical Engineering®?
ASC Oncology does not replace your oncologist but provides you and your physician with additional information. Every patient and every cancer is unique. Treatment success can never be guaranteed. Through the results of the Reverse Clinical Engineering®, you and your oncologist will find out which drugs are likely to work for your individual tumor. With this additional knowledge, you increase the chance of receiving effective therapy right from the start.
Does Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure or ASC Oncology replace my treating physician?
No. The testing procedure is a complementary service for which we work together with your physicians. In consultation with them, we select the drugs to be tested and then provide you and your physician with the results to help you make the best possible treatment decision. Your treating physician remains the one who prescribes the cancer therapy and provides you with medical care.
Why haven’t I received any information about Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure from my doctor or clinic?

Oncologists and patients have only been able to use the test procedure for a few years. We are constantly working to increase awareness and expand our collaborations. Nevertheless, it may be that your treating physician has not yet heard of us. If you wish, we can get in touch with him.

Who is ASC Oncology and what expertise do you have?

ASC Oncology was founded by leading scientists in the fields of pathology, biology, biochemistry, biotechnology and tumor biology. Working together with lawyers and business informatics specialists, we form a team with years of experience dedicated to the fight against cancer and the advancement of personalized tumor therapy. Our goal is to find the optimal chemotherapy for each individual patient. 

Where is ASC Oncology located?

ASC Oncology is located on the Campus Berlin-Buch. You can find directions here.

Can I use the Reverse Clinical Engineering® in my region?
Yes, ASC Oncology offers the Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure to patients and physicians worldwide. Only the shipment of the tumor sample to our laboratory in Berlin must be ensured.
Do I have to come to ASC Oncology's laboratory in Berlin for tumor sample collection?
No. The tumor sample is taken by your physician on site and brought to our laboratory by a courier service.
Can the Reverse Clinical Engineering® test procedure be used for all types of cancer?
In principle, the test procedure is suitable for all solid tumors, such as colon cancer (colon carcinoma), pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma), lung cancer (NSCLC, SCLC), breast cancer (mammary carcinoma) or sarcomas. However, it cannot be used in patients with blood cancer (leukemia) or lymph node cancer (lymphoma).
Are there any side effects?
No. We only test tumor tissue taken during surgery or biopsy. The testing procedure takes place in the laboratory and outside the human body. Accordingly, no side effects can occur.
How long does the Reverse Clinical Engineering® testing procedure take?
It varies. On average, the Reverse Clinical Engineering® takes about four weeks from sample receipt to the final report. Depending on the type of cancer and the quality of the tumor sample, the growth of the tumor models may vary, so the testing procedure may take more or less time.
My doctor recommends a therapy that does not agree with the results of Reverse Clinical Engineering®. What should I believe? Who can I turn to?
Reverse Clinical Engineering® provides results on which cancer drugs offer the best chance of successful treatment in your case. If your doctor has any concerns, we recommend a professional consultation with us first. Because our testing procedure is relatively new, we understand that oncologists may have doubts at first. In a joint discussion, we will clear up these doubts. Therefore, please talk to us if you would like us to contact your oncologist on your behalf.
Will my health insurance pay for the Reverse Clinical Engineering®?
The Reverse Clinical Engineering® test procedure is currently still an individual health service (so-called IGeL in Germany) that patients pay for themselves. However, you can apply to your statutory or private health insurance to have the costs covered. We have prepared forms for this purpose for German statutory or private health insurance companies and will be happy to assist you with the entire process. In addition, we are in discussions with the German health insurance companies in order to achieve long-term cost coverage for the benefit of the patients.
I still have some questions which were not answered here. Who can I contact?

Send your question to, call us on 0800 6988667 or book a callback using the green button at the bottom right of the page.

For healthcare professionals

How long does the analysis take?
The entire process from biopsy to the result usually takes around four to six weeks. However, depending on the type of cancer, a test might require a different duration. While tumor organoids from colorectal cancer grow quickly, the growth process for prostate cancer for example takes longer. We can discuss your anticipated begin of treatment and our expected timeline before start of the tests.
How can I send a sample to you?
Please contact us here. We will provide sample tubes and packaging, as well as shipping instructions. The sample can be collected directly from the surgical unit and transported directly and quickly to us in Berlin Buch by courier.
Which patients are suitable for this procedure?
We have specialized in solid tumors. We currently provide Reverse Clinical Engineering as standard for patients with colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer (NSCLC, SCLC) and breast cancer. Should your patient have a different kind of solid tumor, please contact us. Our test can also be used to stratify patients for a clinical study. Please note that we require a tumor sample/biopsy to perform our test.
Where can I find the corresponding documents?
We send all relevant documents electronically to you and your patient as soon as you have registered through our website.
Which classes of drugs/substances do you test?

We test the classical chemotherapy drugs (e.g. anthracycline, taxanes, platinum derivates, vinca alkaloids). We also test small molecules (-nibs) and therapeutic antibodies (-mabs, -mubs). We can test all substances individually or in combination.

How much tumour tissue do you require?
We test the classical chemotherapy drugs (e.g. anthracycline, taxanes, platinum derivates, vinca alkaloids). We also test small molecules (-nibs) and therapeutic antibodies (-mabs, -mubs). We can test all substances individually or in combination.
Can a test be conducted on biopsy material?
Ideally, we require a minimum sized 5 x 5 x 5 mm tumor sample. Depending on the chosen package, you can send us up to 3 samples per tumor.
Do you also test immunomodulatory substances?
Sometimes, an operation is neither necessary nor possible. In such cases, we can try to create a patient-specific cell culture from biopsy material.
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