Cancer treatments have been solely focused on attacking the tumor to eliminate progression into other areas of the body. Treatments for cancer have generally be focused on a variety of therapies, including radiation and chemical, which have been successful but extremely harmful to the patient. Of the lesser applied techniques, precision medicine, and personalized cancer treatments have not been recognized as the gold standard towards cancer treatments. Although, reports from The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics have reported that broad panel assay testing has shown in several clinical trials to be highly specific and can improve the field of precision medicine for cancer treatment.

Due to the complexity of cancer, major development has been invested into personalized and precision medicine when treating cancer. Understanding the genetics of cancer, and the genetic makeup has created a race to find a system of genetic assay to tackle cancer’s causes and provide a new array of treatment.

The National Institute of Cancer has reported four clinical labs, using next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay, announcing highly specific at 99.99% detection and sensitivity to detecting genetic mutations across 256 mutations at 96.98%, of which all mutations form some type of cancer. Tissue biopsies from different facilities were sent to one of the four labs conducting NSG, and underwent the process of giving a final report to the type of cancer, mutation, and possible course of treatment. This was done for a total of 455 samples, with some samples put under analysis multiple times across different labs to test validity of reports.

Overall turn around from the time of accepting the samples to delivering a treatment and final report was between eleven to fourteen days. The efficient production of testing and reporting results, as well as the extremely high accuracy levels identified across all labs and samples possibly make this form of precision medicine for oncology one of the gold standards in identifying mutations and prescribing treatments.

In Europe, strides to identifying genetics role in cancer development and progression have already been underway. One of the larger projects, designed by six countries within the European Union, have developed BIO-RAIDS, a form of genetic sequencing assay but specific to cervical cancer. The development of this technique is similar to NSG, but differs as a program which also stores information of individual patients so that researchers can look back and develop new innovative techniques based on previous clinical cases.


COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. DetinaZalli (Harvard University) and Dr. ArgitaZalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Antonio Del Vecchio (Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences).