Personalized treatment is revolutionizing cancer care, with new targeted therapies tailored to a patient’s particular tumor mutation. The key that unlocks the knowledge of that cancer is genomic sequencing, also called Next Generation Sequencing.


Endometrial (uterine) cancer awareness: Photomicrograph of uterine biopsy showing endometrial cancer or endometrial carcinoma. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Md Saiful Islam Khan)

Personalized treatment is revolutionizing cancer care, with new targeted therapies tailored to a patient’s particular tumor mutation. The key that unlocks the knowledge of that cancer is genomic sequencing, also called Next Generation Sequencing.

“Thirty years ago, we got either a breast cancer diagnosis or a lung cancer diagnosis and it was just that,” said Dana Dornsife, founder of the non-profit Lazarex Cancer Foundation, which aims to improve cancer outcomes. cancer by helping advanced stage patients and the medically disadvantaged with the costs associated with participating in an FDA clinical trial.

“We’ve been able to develop very sophisticated tests that now take us out of that generic ‘lung cancer’ and into the specific type of lung cancer,” Dornsife said.

Depending on a person’s specific cancer, there are a growing number of targeted therapy pills and other treatments, which tightly magnify the mutation, with generally manageable side effects.

“Rather than using a very broad-spectrum chemotherapy agent, which not only impacts cancer cells but impacts many healthy cells and tissues, we can now become much more targeted with therapies, if we understand the type of mutation someone has. it actually has,” Dornsife said.

Specifying a goal has long been a part of medicine in general, Dornsife said.

“For example, if you’ve had an infection, rather than giving you a broad spectrum antibiotic that treats many, many, many things, if you know exactly what kind of bacteria or infection you have, then we can give you an antibiotic that treats very specifically that infection,” he said. “It’s exactly the same with cancer.”

Effective, but often prohibitively expensive

While breakthrough advances in cancer care dramatically improve outcomes, they aren’t available or affordable to everyone, Dornsife said.

The Lazarex Cancer Foundation is hosting a program called “Disrupting the System” on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. It will include oncology experts and patient advocates who are working to make cancer research available to all.

Next-generation sequencing can save valuable time identifying a particular mutation, Dornsife said.

Using a single biopsy, “we can run multiple tests at once to identify genetic or genomic mutations,” Dornsife said, which is more efficient than previous genetic tests that looked for a specific mutation.

He added that NGS is not currently available to all patients.

“A lot has to do with the type of insurance you have,” Dornsife said.

For example, if you were a Medicare patient diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor might request a test to see if you have BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, so they can learn more about your cancer.

“But Medicare doesn’t cover the broader type of genomic or multi-mutation testing,” Dornsife said.

While larger cancer centers, including those in the DC region, routinely use NGS to tailor a patient’s care, that’s not often the case in rural areas and for uninsured patients.

“Most cancer patients are seen in the community setting,” Dornsife said. “And, in the community setting, they don’t have the budget to just provide genomic testing, free of charge, so your insurance comes into play.”

Some insurance companies determine the facilities where a patient can be treated. If a patient is regulated by insurance to go to a specific clinic and that clinic does not offer genomic or genetic testing, then the patient will not receive state-of-the-art tests and treatments.

He said the goal of coming to Washington is to educate lawmakers about the benefits of Next Generation Sequencing and look for ways to make it more available and affordable.

“Thank goodness it’s getting a lot less expensive,” Dornsife said. “Even three years ago, having genomic tests cost probably $5,000 out of pocket. Now I think it’s $1,200 to $1,500,” she said.

She said Tuesday’s event is trying to drive change to make genomic testing more equitable: “It’s so important for a cancer patient to have access to genomic testing to get the best possible treatment for them.”

Get the latest news and daily headlines delivered to your inbox by signing up here.

WTOP 2023. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

#Push #genomic #tests #affordable #improve #cancer #care #WTOP #News

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *