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Trial Points to Benefits of Personalized Medicine for Mesothelioma and All Cancer Patients


A microscope use for mesothelioma treatment experiment

MesotheliomaHelp has continually touted the benefits of personalized care for mesothelioma patients. Also known as precision medicine, personalized care targeted to a patient’s unique cancer characteristics often results in treatments that may not have otherwise been considered. Now, researchers from France report positive results from the first trial to show that precision cancer care results in improved survival for patients.

Researchers from the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in Paris found that 199 out of 1,110 patients with advanced cancer, including lung, breast, and bowel cancers, who had their genes mapped and had their treatments tailored according to their specific cancer characteristics realized a “30 percent longer” respite from cancer regrowth compared to their previous therapies, according to a Sept. 23 article in Medical Express. All of the patients had been told there were no other treatment options for them after undergoing at least three other treatment options.

The results were presented at the Molecular Analysis for Personalised Therapy  (MAP) conference, a joint initiative between Cancer Research UK, UNICANCER, a hospital group in France entirely devoted to fighting cancer, and the European Society For Medical Oncology, held in London in September.

“This is the first precision medicine trial to show that analysing a person’s DNA improves treatment options for patients with late stage cancer,” said Professor Jean Charles Soria, principal investigator of the trial from the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus. “And these results are particularly exciting because in some cases we were testing experimental drugs, and found that we could slow down the growth of tumours in around one in five patients with advanced cancer.”

The results, although some admitted may seem small, generated optimism among the attendees at MAP saying that while precision medicine is still in its infancy, additional research may help grow these numbers, according to an Oct. 7 Cancer Research UK article discussing personalized care findings from MAP.

The benefits of personalized care for mesothelioma patients have already been realized where researchers have identified genetic biomarkers that reflect the aggressiveness of mesothelioma as well as markers that can assess the effectiveness of a particular treatment.

Mesothelioma, a rare, asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart, is highly aggressive and is resistant to many cancer treatments. The prognosis for mesothelioma patients is usually grim: the average survival time varies from 4 – 18 months after diagnosis. For the close to 3,000 Americans diagnosed with the disease each year, personalized care may bring a breakthrough treatment not previously considered by their physician.

“We haven’t yet done enough to help patients,” said Calvo. “I really believe it’s not the time to stop the efforts [of research of personalized care],” said Professor Fabien Calvo, Chief Scientific Officer for Cancer Core Europe.

The President of the U.S. knows the importance of personalized care and is focusing on bringing personalized health care to all Americans through the Precision Medicine Initiative.

Read about President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

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