Tests to customize biological therapy
Until recently, cancer treatment focused on the primary source of the tumor, and most patients with a particular type of cancer were treated with the same treatment protocols: chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgical procedures depending upon the source of the primary tumor. In recent years, researchers have come to the understanding that particular gene mutations affect the incidence and progression of this or that type of cancer.
Identifying the mutations in the DNA of the malignant cells enables oncologists to prescribe targeted, effective drug therapy involving fewer side effects.
Innovative technologies based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) enable different types of mutations in a number of genes or in the entire genome to be simultaneously identified in the cells of the tumor itself. Tested are point mutations, replications/deletions of segments of DNA and fusions, like translocations, microsatellite instability and inheritable mutations (germline variant analysis).
These tests report the clinical implications of each detected mutation – in other words, they report the approved drug and biological therapies whose effectiveness has been proven in clinical trials. In this way, the patient and his medical team can receive information in real time about the variety of available treatment options.