Written by BC Cancer Agency Thursday, 12 August 2010 10:38
RNA and DNA sequencing of a tumor to aid in clinical decision making and therapeutic choice
VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Researchers at the BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre have provided the first published example of genome-scale RNA and DNA sequencing of a tumor to aid in clinical decision making and therapeutic choice.
Published recently in the journal Genome Biology, the research focuses on a rare tumor of the tongue, which had progressed to metastatic disease. The rarity of this tumor meant that no established treatment options existed. Analysis of the complete genomic sequence allowed the comprehensive discovery of the genetic changes that had accumulated within the tumor. From this information, a personalized drug regime was initiated, which stabilized the aggressive cancer for several months.
“Utilizing a complete map of the molecular changes within a tumor in a clinical setting represents a world first in the application of this technology,” said Dr. Steven Jones, associate director of the Genome Sciences Centre and professor, Simon Fraser University. “It ushers in the era of personalized medicine in oncology, whereby therapies will be tailored precisely to the genetic make-up of the tumor. I anticipate that in the not too distant future nearly all patient tumors will be characterized in this way as a matter of course.”
While still in a preliminary stage, this approach is of particular relevance for rarer tumor types, where there are no established treatment protocols.
“This is an important advancement in cancer treatment. Genome sequencing has the ability to help guide clinical decisions offering personalized treatment strategies, and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer in B.C.,” said Dr. David Levy, president, BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.