TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific
Director of The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), today
announced a new study to develop a framework for the implementation of
personalized medicine in cancer care.
The framework aims to integrate genomics research into everyday clinical
practice, with a goal to provide improved and more targeted care for
Published in the journal Cell, the framework supports improved
diagnostics for cancer patients based on DNA analyses of tumours. The
results of these analyses could be used to predict a patient's response
to novel therapies. More immediately, it could be used to predict how
drugs currently approved and in use today could help to treat other
types of cancer.
"As the cost of genome sequencing decreases, we are presented with the
reality that soon genome analysis will be no more or less expensive
than most diagnostic tests in use today," said Dr. Hudson. "This
presents a huge opportunity to improve diagnosis for patients and
ultimately improve patient outcomes. But in order to implement these
tools, we must first understand their impact in a clinical setting."
"This framework is not about simply doing a new test but creating
evidence that would inform what type of treatment would be given to
individual patients," said Dr. Janet Dancey, leader of OICR's High
Impact Clinical Trials Program. "We currently have a strong theoretical
basis but now we need to create evidence from clinical trials to put
these theories into clinical practice."
"The timing is right to develop a clinical trial and research framework
for genomics and cancer," said Dr. Philippe L. Bedard, Medical
Oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital. "This framework will help to
deliver on the promise of personalized medicine sooner."
The paper's publication coincides with World Cancer Day on February 4,
2012. The collaborative research conducted in the study is an excellent
example this year's World Cancer Day theme "Together it is possible".
For more information on World Cancer Day visit www.worldcancerday.org.
Much of the work in the study is based on sequencing currently underway
by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC), a collaborative
international effort with a goal of sequencing 25,000 tumours from 50
different cancer types. The ICGC is creating a large database of
mutations that are revealing many mutations known to be involved in
specific tumours (for example, the BRAF mutation) are observed in many
other types of cancer. This suggests that cancer diagnosis should
involve an in-depth analysis of a tumour's mutation for many different
types of cancer, regardless of where the tumour originated.
While the framework does provide a path forward for establishing a role
for genomics in everyday clinical practice in the future, more research
is needed before such practices can be implemented more widely.
Cancer was once thought of as a single disease that affected many
different parts of the body. Now researchers know that every patient's
cancer is different, requiring different treatments for different
patients - even for tumours of the same type of cancer. This means new
technologies are required to accurately diagnose and effectively treat
different types of cancer. Personalized medicine will allow physicians
to use new tools to identify characteristics of a tumour that are
specific to each patient, and then tailor treatment to each patient's
specific form of the disease. This will lead to earlier, more accurate
diagnosis and improved treatment for patients with fewer side effects.
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute
dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of
cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation,
launched by the Government of Ontario in 2005. The annual budget for
OICR, its research partners and collaborators exceeds $160 million.
This supports more than 1,500 investigators, clinician scientists,
research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research
institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. It has research
hubs in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto.
OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics,
stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing, from
early stage research to Phase III clinical trials. For more
information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.
Princess Margaret Hospital
Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, Ontario Cancer
Institute, have achieved an international reputation as global leaders
in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer
medicine. Princess Margaret Hospital, one of the top five international
cancer research centres, is a member of the University Health Network,
which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital
and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. All are research hospitals
affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, go to www.uhn.ca
SOURCE Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
For further information:
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Contact: Christopher Needles
Manager, Editorial Services and Media Relations