Personalized Cancer Treatment
PERSONALIZED TREATMENT OF CANCER: THE CONTRIBUTION OF GENOMICS
Thanks to technical advances, it is now possible to study the entire genome of a tumor to select the most appropriate treatment in the management of the patient.
The research contributes to the development of a growing number of antitumor drugs particularly promising targeted therapies. These treatments are highly effective in their specificity of action: they act, in effect, on cells that have precise molecular characteristics associated with their malignant nature. Therefore, these new drugs are only effective in patients whose tumor carries specific abnormalities. Their administration thus requires genetic characterization of tumor cells to destroy.
A strategy to obtain maximum information on tumors is genomic sequencing. This strategy is to decipher the entire genetic makeup of tumor cells in order to catalog all the flaws that entail. By comparing the resulting catalog to the arsenal of available targeted therapies, doctors can more easily choose the most appropriate treatment in the management of patients.
This approach has remained utopian sequence an entire genome was indeed a work far too long and as well costly for it to be done in order to choose an anti-tumor therapy. However, today the situation is different: an American team has indeed demonstrated that it is possible to analyze the genetic makeup of a tumor in three to four weeks, for approximately $ 3,809. This period is consistent with the initiation of treatment, and the cost is not significantly higher than other methods currently used to characterize tumors.
It remains a problem to solve: in their pilot study of four patients, U.S. researchers have identified genetic defects that can be targeted by drugs currently being evaluated. However, patients have benefited from these treatments: testing clinics being focused on the use of these drugs in cancers other than those they developed.
Thus, the use of sequencing to facilitate personalized treatment can be considered without a change in the implementation of clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of new targeted therapies.