Major trials have revealed that tumors can be shrunk six times by using DNA tests at the rates of conventional medicine. Trials involving patients found out that those who were given treatment using the targeted methods, saw tumors shrink at rates far beyond those of standard treatment.
The approach means that patients are given treatment based on targeted gene sequencing or by using their whole genetic profile, which means that people who are currently undergoing very demanding rounds of chemotherapy could be spared by it, because of clues in their genetic profile.
Experts said the promise shown by precision medicine was the most exciting thing, which means that in the future, patients could be saved at very cheap rates by gene tests.
Experts have said treatment based on DNA tests that could become the norm within five years. The findings, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, come from 346 early-stage clinical trials that used precision methods.
The approach meant that patients could be given the right treatment first instead of a system of trial and error, which means undergoing toxic therapies they may never have needed, instead of the combination they needed. It is about finding the right key for the lock. Finding out what it is that is driving the tumor, what makes it tick.
Oncologist bet that within five years, patients could be offered “upfront” genetic profiling so that the treatment could be offered without even the delay of tests.
Scientists are hopeful that the advantages of treatments based on genetic profiling, which is increasingly used on a trial basis, but there has been no major study examining them in-depth.
Researchers found that tumors in patients who received targeted treatments had shrinkage rates of 30.6 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in those who did not.
Patients have been given treatment, which was based on specific biomarkers, which held for the longest time before the disease worsened. “Personalized medicine is a very, very different way of treating patients. It’s the most exciting thing since chemotherapy,” says Rowena Sharpe, head of precision medicine at Cancer Research UK
The study by the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine’s Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy was hailed by experts from across the globe as showing that such approaches were “the future” for cancer care.
The comprehensive study shows that by using biomarkers to match up a tumor’s key features with the most suitable treatments, patients can see a real benefit from new drugs at an earlier stage. Personalized medicine represents the future of cancer treatment.
The study by University College London, Cambridge University, and Cancer Research UK will mean all women will undergo a genetic test of the tumor as soon as diagnosed, with results due in 2020. Such tests currently cost around £2,000 – around half the cost of a £4,000 course of chemotherapy.