A Philadelphia cancer treatment facility is offering patients with advanced cases a detailed personalized “blueprint” of their own cancer genes in a cutting-edge test that opens the door to one of the first practical applications of personalized medical treatment.
The Fox Chase Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, is offering the gene blueprints to help guide treatment for patients who have exhausted all other traditional therapy options.
The new CancerCode-45TM test evaluates an individual's tumors for genetic alterations in 45 specific genes to help physicians tailor a course of treatment to a particular patient. It could help doctors determine, for instance, whether a particular drug or other therapy is likely to be effective or not, based on a patient’s unique genetic makeup.
"Gaining insight like this into the DNA of a specific tumor is the next step in transforming cancer care and prevailing over cancer," says Michael V. Seiden, M.D., president and CEO of Fox Chase. "We are very excited to be offering this innovative test at our center and look forward to the ways it will enhance the care we provide our patients."
Patients who receive the test also provide information about their background, medical history, current medications, and ability to perform daily activities. Physicians also take a patient blood sample and a tumor biopsy. Test results take about 20 days to process.
"Not every patient will benefit from this test, but for some it could very well change their entire course of treatment and significantly prolong their life," says Jeff Boyd, executive director of Fox Chase. "At the very least, the results may help physicians decide how to treat their patients with advanced cancer — whether by suggesting they use a particular type of drug or not use a particular type of drug or by allowing them to take part in clinical trials of new medications guided by their tumor's genetic profile."