Following the tumour DNA trail to crack the secrets of personalised medicine

Paris, France, 10 September 2018 – Individualised therapies that target the specific genetic features of tumours have the potential to transform cancer diagnosis, treatment and care. However, several challenges still need to be overcome before these approaches can be widely used in the clinic. Two DNA testing programmes have been implemented in institutes in Spain and the UK, to match patient tumour profiles with targets of early clinical trials, and to embed whole genome sequencing (WGS) in routine oncology practice, respectively. The results of these programmes, to be presented at MAP 2018 (1), illustrate that new sequencing techniques and process restructuring at the system level can be the drivers of a model that promises new opportunities for the greatest number of patients.

Matching tumour profiles to targeted therapies

In 2010, the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona, Spain, introduced a molecular pre-screening programme (MPP) to match genomic alterations in patients’ tumours to targeted drugs and immunotherapies being tested in early clinical trials (ECTs). A recent assessment of the programme’s clinical utility (2) shows that the rapid evolution of sequencing techniques over the last eight years has gone hand in hand with the multiplication of alterations being targeted in biomarker matched


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