Updated on 9 April 2013
Next generation DNA sequencing offers greater precision than standard imaging in cancer study
Singapore: US-based Penn Medicine's new Center for Personalized Diagnostics, a joint initiative of the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Perelman School of Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, US, is diving deeper into each patient's tumor with next generation DNA sequencing. These specialized tests can refine patient diagnosis with greater precision than standard imaging tests and blood work, all with an aim to broaden treatment options and improve their efficacy.
Dr David B Roth, chairman, department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, "We're using the most advanced diagnostic methods to unlock cancer's secrets. A tumor's genomic profile is the most critical piece of information for an oncologist to have when they're deciding what therapy to recommend. The results of tests in the Center for Personalized Diagnostics reveal a genetic blueprint of each patient's tumor that is as discrete and singular as a fingerprint."
Center for Personalized Diagnostics unites top experts in genomic analysis, bioinformatics, and cancer genetics, who use the most sensitive data analysis tools available to identify the rarest of mutations, with oncologists who treat patients and design clinical trials to test new therapies. Together, their efforts will provide cancer patients with cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic options. The first group of patients who are undergoing testing through the CPD includes those with blood cancers and solid tumors of the brain, melanoma, and lung.
Throughout 2013, the tests will be expanded for a wider range of cancer patients. Results are available within two weeks, twice as fast as most commercially available testing panels. All new and relapsed Abramson Cancer Center patients will receive this testing, conducted via simple blood tests and/or biopsy of tumor tissue or bone marrow, as part of their evaluation and diagnostic process. Interpretation of results is communicated one-on-one to patients and their caregivers by physicians and genetic counselors. Detecting resistance mutations that could slow or halt patients' response to targeted drugs, which allows for custom-designed combination therapies to attack tumors through multiple pathways.
Dr Chi Van Dang, director, Abramson Cancer Center, said that, "We see 11,500 newly diagnosed patients each year in the Abramson Cancer, and hundreds of others who seek our help when their cancers have not responded, or have returned, after receiving standard therapies elsewhere. A key part of our mission is to provide each of these patients these tests as soon as possible, so that we can quickly tailor a treatment regimen that provides them the greatest chance of a cure."