Published on 13/02/2012
Scientists are closer than ever to developing personalised medicine, as a new study shows that more than half of lung and colon cancer patients may benefit from high-speed tests that detect DNA flaws.
DNA tests can be used to detect cancer-associated genes in tumours
Researchers at Foundation Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston used a gene test to sequence 145 cancer-associated genes in 40 colon tumour samples and 24 lung tumours.
Their results, published in Nature Medicine, show that 53 per cent of colon tumours and 71 per cent of lung tumours had mutations that may be attacked with cancer medicines on the market or in human trials.
By sequencing the genes in the tumours, scientists also discovered what drugs wouldn’t work against the cancer.
The researchers also spotted a previously unknown genetic flaw in 2 per cent of 561 lung tumours tested.
The study emphasised the value of using DNA sequencing machines to optimise treatment by matching drugs against specific gene abnormalities.
It also suggests cancer researchers may need to rethink the way they classify and treat the disease; the particular genetic abnormality inside tumour DNA may matter as much as what organ the tumour came from.
Pharmaceutical makers are now focusing on developing gene-targeted therapies to help treat cancer.
“It is moving closer and closer to real personalized medicine,” Janne, a lung cancer specialist at Dana-Farber, said in an interview. “It is fantastic as we can tailor our therapy to the particular genetics of a patient’s cancer.”
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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Medical