Friday, October 27, 2006

Gene Screen Links Cancer Treatment to Tumor Type

(HealthDay News) -- U.S. scientists say they've developed new tests that analyze thousands of genes in a tumor to determine which kind of chemotherapy will be most effective against a particular tumor type.

In laboratory experiments with cells derived from cancer patient tumors, these genomic tests were 80 percent accurate in predicting which chemotherapy drugs would be most effective in killing the tumor.

A team from Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, in Durham, N.C., published their findings in the November issue of Nature Medicine.
A clinical trial of the genomic tests in about 120 breast cancer patients is planned to begin next year, the Duke scientists said.

These new genomic tests may help save lives and reduce cancer patients' exposure to the toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs, lead investigator Dr. Anil Potti, an assistant professor of medicine at the institute, said in a prepared statement.

Using the tests, doctors would be able to correctly determine the most effective form of chemotherapy for a patient's tumor, instead of trying various chemotherapy drugs until the correct one is found, Potti said.

"Over 400,000 patients in the United States are treated with chemotherapy each year, without a firm basis for which drug they receive," senior investigator Joseph Nevins, a professor of genetics at the institute, said in a prepared statement. "We believe these genomic tests have the potential to revolutionize cancer care by identifying the right drug for each individual patient."

More information
The American Cancer Society has more about chemotherapy.

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