In the most comprehensive breast cancer treatment study of its kind to-date, scientists may have uncovered the potential for new breast cancer treatment therapies, and possibilities for the development of new drugs aimed at preventing the disease.
More than 100 Genes Linked to Breast Cancer Revealed
After discovering a bounty of genes linked to breast cancer, scientists may soon be able to develop new genetic tests for predicting breast cancer risk, and using the data obtained, ensure targeted cancer treatment for patients.
Genes Linked to Survival Could Aid in Prevention
Thirty-two additional genes, linked to survival in those with receptor-positive breast cancer, were also uncovered. These are hoped to be used to test new treatments, as well as for providing targeted prevention protocols for those most at-risk of developing breast cancer.
In the study, funded by Breast Cancer Now, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in London used a new genetic technique called ‘Capture Hi-C’ to analyze how genes interacted with 33 DNA regions known to play a role in breast cancer. Of the 110 genes identified in the study, the majority had not been previously linked to breast cancer, providing fresh new insight for those striving to develop improved cancer treatment regimens.
A Vital Piece to Puzzling Out the Disease
The findings are seen as integral to unraveling how genetic changes in the building blocks of the body’s DNA influence breast cancer risk, providing a key piece to solving the cancer puzzle.
Puzzling out your cancer treatment options? Discover the path to improved health with Issels® individualized cancer treatment protocols today.
Giving Patients Access to “Innovative Diagnostics”
Discussion on the issue began several months ago when Foundation Medicine received FDA approval for F1CDx, the first broad genomic cancer test of its kind. The current cost for for F1CDx is $5,800.
At the time of the announcement, CMS administrator Seema Verma issued a statement explaining the decision. CMS believes that it will give cancer patients “enhanced access and expanded coverage when it comes to innovative diagnostics.”
Coverage for genomic and molecular cancer tests that are still in development and not yet FDA-approved does not change with the new policy. U.S. regional Medicare administrative contractors will retain discretion in regards to payment for such testing.
Opening the Door to Accurate Evaluation
For the time being, Foundation Medicine will likely see a surge in the number of specimens submitted to them for testing. In the big picture, the CMS decision will encourage researchers to gather the evidence needed for FDA approval of additional tests.
Experts predict that within a few years another half-dozen companies will join Foundation Medicine in offering FDA-approved testing. One scientist called the decision a “major advancement for precision medicine.”
Genomic Testing and Cancer Immunotherapy from Issels®
High school biology teaches that the Y chromosome is what distinguishes males from females, who have two X chromosomes. Cancer researchers are exploring the possibility that the additional X chromosome may hold a key to why women have a lower incidence of cancer than men.
Genetic Gender Bias?
The so-called “male bias” runs across all types of cancer. In the past it was thought to be caused by men’s greater exposure to environmental factors such as cigarette smoke and chemicals, but that didn’t explain a similar bias in juvenile cancers like pediatric leukemia.
According to Dr. Andrew Lane of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, lead author of the study, everyone carries tumor suppressor genes that protect cells from cancer. When cancer develops, these genes lose functionality.
Strength in Numbers
The study revealed the genes that were mutated more frequently in male cancers occurred on the X chromosome. While this sounds counterintuitive, there’s more to the story.
One copy of the X chromosome is shut down in all cells, a process known as X inactivation. But approximately 50 of the 800 genes on the X chromosome are spared, leaving women with two sets of those particular genes. As a result, any cancer that develops must mutate twice as many of the genes in women as in men.
Genomic Testing and Immunotherapy for Cancer
Each patient’s cancer is unique, which is why genomic testing is one of the special methods we use at Issels®. Contact us for more information about our personally tailored immunotherapy for cancer treatments that destroy cancer cells while strengthening your body’s own natural defenses.
Could information technology be part of the solution to curing breast cancer? Researchers and healthcare specialists are about to find out as genetic profiles of thousands of cancer patients have been released to the public.
Big data meets cancer research
Results of genomic testing are normally kept confidential and stored within a patient’s file. Early this past March, Ambry Genetics made the contents of their AmbryShare database publicly available at no charge.
The database contains anonymous data obtained from testing of the company’s thousands of breast and ovarian cancer patients. Doctors, researchers and other patients can now access this information in search of genetic patterns.
“Delaying medical progress”
Amber Genetics CEO and founder Charles Dunlop, himself a stage four cancer survivor, issued a statement in conjunction with the data release. In it, he expressed shock that public and private laboratories would withhold such information at the cost of “delaying medical progress” that could end the suffering of other cancer patients.
Not everyone is optimistic about this development. Genetics professor David B. Goldstein of Columbia University told the New York Times he was unsure that this database is enough to make a difference. But one important believer is President Barack Obama, whose administration’s “Precision Medicine Initiative” is working on establishing a database containing genetic and long-term health information for one million Americans.
Genomic testing at Issels®
Genomic testing is just one of the methods we use to develop our non-toxic integrative treatments. Visit our website to view testimonials from patients with breast cancer, leukemia, melanoma and other forms of cancer which have been successfully treated at our immuno-oncology centers.