TAR­GETED THER­APY

Business Today - - THE BREAKOUT ZONE -

MOLEC­U­LAR-LEVEL tar­geted ther­apy is of­ten used for per­son­alised cancer treat­ment, with or with­out hor­monal ther­apy and chemo­ther­apy, says Dr Mithua Ghosh, Di­rec­tor, Clin­i­cal Di­ag­nos­tics, at Strand Life Sci­ences. For in­stance, HER-2 pro­tein is found in ex­cess on the sur­face of some types of cancer cells. Spe­cial­ists think this may cause them to grow and spread more quickly. So, tar­geted med­i­ca­tions such as trastuzumab are used to treat con­di­tions (espe­cially cer­tain breast and stom­ach can­cers) that over­ex­press HER-2. Although tar­geted ther­apy is known to im­prove sur­vival rates in cer­tain types of cancer – lung, re­nal, breast, col­orec­tal, liver, thy­roid and me­lanoma, for in­stance – long-term sur­vival or a com­plete cure re­mains elu­sive, says Dr Ghosh. The an­swer may lie in fur­ther un­der­stand­ing and eval­u­at­ing the bi­ol­ogy of cancer and the sub­se­quent treat­ment based on ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ments of con­trib­u­tory fac­tors via DNA-se­quenc­ing tech­nolo­gies. Tar­geted deep-se­quenc­ing of a large num­ber of pa­tients suf­fer­ing from dif­fer­ent types of cancer will help an­a­lyse mu­ta­tion pro­files of tu­mours and pro­vide bet­ter in­sights into in­di­vid­u­als’ cancer trig­gers. The tests avail­able for this range from small gene pan­els of ac­tion­able hotspot mu­ta­tions to clin­i­cal/whole ex­ome se­quenc­ing and whole genome se­quenc­ing.

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