Genetic Profiling Could Improve Cancer Treatments

Researchers found that a majority of patients with cancer had mutations that would affect their treatment.

A recent study discovered that genetic profiling of cancer tumors can potentially create new treatments for patients who would likely be resistant to standard treatments.

The Genetic Exploration of the Molecular Basis of Malignancy in Adults (GEMMA) database hosts DNA from tumor samples that can be tested to establish treatment targets.

Researchers used next-generation gene sequencing technology to examine tumor samples for more than 100 patients in GEMMA, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2016.

They found that 90% of tumor samples presented genetic mutations that could affect their treatment.

As a result of analysis, researchers also found that some patients were eligible to enroll in a clinical trial undergo a personalized treatment.

“Molecular profiling programs like GEMMA don't typically experience this degree of success,” said lead researcher Steven Powell, MD. “Sixteen percent of our patients were able to go on clinical trials matching them to a personalized therapy; many academic centers are only able to do this five percent of the time. Our numbers indicate that the development of a molecular profiling program in a community setting in the Midwest is not only feasible but effective in getting patients access to the newest treatments.”

Researchers plan to begin another version of GEMMA that makes genetic profiling standard practice for patients with cancer.