Targeted therapy involves testing tumours for clues about their genetic mutation, and matching drugs to block the cancer’s growth on a molecular level.(Shutterstock)
Targeted therapy involves testing tumours for clues about their genetic mutation, and matching drugs to block the cancer’s growth on a molecular level.(Shutterstock)

Targeted cancer treatment could replace chemo and radiation in future

Looking beyond existing treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, researchers are focusing on treatments that target a tumour’s individual genetic traits for better results.
By Soma Das | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUN 04, 2018 12:09 PM IST

Cancer treatments that attack tumors based on their individual genetic traits, and not just their location in the body, could extend survival for twice as many patients, says a new study done by the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

Targeted therapy involves testing tumours for clues about their genetic mutation, and matching drugs to block the cancer’s growth on a molecular level. Such targeted options have risen dramatically in the last two decades, and offers hope that tumour testing and cell-free DNA analysis may eventually become the standard of care.

A new study by Montefiore Medical Center in New York also showed that women with early-stage breast cancer could safely skip chemotherapy after gene testing without hurting their chances of beating the disease.

“I am optimistic that in the next few years we will dramatically improve the outcomes of patients with cancer with increasing implementation of precision medicine,” said Apostolia Tsimberidou, professor of investigational cancer therapeutics at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and the lead investigator of the study.

Patients are now being tested for hundreds of actionable genes, amplifications and mutations, as well as for immune markers. (Shutterstock)
Patients are now being tested for hundreds of actionable genes, amplifications and mutations, as well as for immune markers. (Shutterstock)

What the study shows

Tsimberidou and her colleagues began studying the impact of these therapies in 2007, after seeing the success of Gleevec (imatinib) — a breakthrough drug approved by US regulators in 2001, that showed huge success against leukemia. Their study, titled IMPACT, is the first and largest to look at survival across cancer types and different targeted therapies. More than 3,700 patients at Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center enrolled from 2007 to 2013.

All had advanced cancers, or “end-stage disease” involving cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, breast, or lung. Melanoma and cancer of the female reproductive tract were also included, along with more rare types of cancer. Those enrolled had typically tried at least four — and sometimes up to 16 — other treatments that failed to halt the growth of cancer.

More than 1,300 were found to have tumours with at least one genetic change. Of these, 711 received a treatment that matched the biology of the tumour. Another 596 received a treatment that was not matched, often because no matched treatment for the patient were available at the time. After three years, 15% of people treated with targeted cancer therapies were alive, compared to seven percent in the non-targeted group. After 10 years, six percent of the targeted group was alive, compared to just one percent in the other group.

This method of molecularly profiling tumours, understanding their genetics and how to act on that is the wave of the future. (Getty Images)
This method of molecularly profiling tumours, understanding their genetics and how to act on that is the wave of the future. (Getty Images)

Far from a cure

On the whole, targeted therapies led to an average of four months of life without the cancer advancing, known as progression-free survival, and nine extra months of overall survival. Those who were treated with traditional approaches lived just under three months without cancer growing, and 7.3 months longer overall.

This method of molecularly profiling tumours, understanding their genetics and how to act on that “is the wave of the future,” said Catherine Diefenbach, an oncologist at New York University (NYU) Langone, who was not involved in the study. For Diefenbach, the study illustrates a paradigm shift in cancer treatment, whereby cancers are no longer treated on the “neighbourhood” of the body in which they arise.

“Prior to precision medicine, patients were treated based on what kind of cancer they had. But a breast cancer patient can have a cell that is much more like a lung cancer patient, genetically, than another breast cancer,” she said.

The field of precision medicine has grown immensely since the study began, said Tsimberidou, recalling that back in 2007, they tested for no more than one to two genes. “Now patients are being tested for hundreds of actionable genes, amplifications and mutations, as well as for immune markers,” she said.

Immunotherapy could help in blood cancer and melanoma. (Shutterstock)
Immunotherapy could help in blood cancer and melanoma. (Shutterstock)

Other novel studies on treating cancer

* A 2015 trial at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center offered the first evidence that immunotherapy, which has already seen some success in blood cancers and melanoma, could work against cervical cancer.

* Scientists at the University of Delaware have developed a two-way process to kill liver cancer cells and inhibit tumour growth. At first, they silenced a key cellular enzyme, and then they added a powerful drug.This research could accelerate the development of new treatments for liver cancer, which is currently difficult to cure.

* According to a study conducted by the University of East Anglia, cancer therapies that cut off blood supply to a tumour could be more effective in combination with existing chemotherapeutic drugs.

* A study led by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre found that a drug has potential as a new therapeutic strategy for bone cancer.

(With inputs from AFP)

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
"It's a small study, but it is the first to show the potential of using metabolic markers as predictive clinical indicators of patients at greatest risk -- and lower risk -- for recurring bouts of major depressive symptoms," added Naviaux.(Unsplash)
"It's a small study, but it is the first to show the potential of using metabolic markers as predictive clinical indicators of patients at greatest risk -- and lower risk -- for recurring bouts of major depressive symptoms," added Naviaux.(Unsplash)

Study finds metabolism's possible role in depression

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:05 PM IST
Certain metabolites may be predictive indicators for persons at risk for recurrent major depressive disorder, suggests a recent study by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with Dutch scientists.
Close
Immunotherapies are cancer drugs that essentially block the "don't-eat-me" signal coming from cancer and allow the immune-system to kill it.(Unsplash)
Immunotherapies are cancer drugs that essentially block the "don't-eat-me" signal coming from cancer and allow the immune-system to kill it.(Unsplash)

Researchers find how cancer can be killed by body's own immune system

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 05:59 PM IST
A new way to help the body's immune system get past that deception and destroy cancer, has been found by a University of Missouri researcher.
Close
Food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, occurs when families do not have enough food to eat.(Unsplash)
Food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, occurs when families do not have enough food to eat.(Unsplash)

Study: Covid-19 pandemic induced food inadequacy is connected to depression

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 05:49 PM IST
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that a 25 per cent ascend in food deficiency during the Covid-19 hit pandemic is connected to demolished psychological wellness.
Close
Taapsee Pannu loves her healthy laddoos(Instagram/taapsee)
Taapsee Pannu loves her healthy laddoos(Instagram/taapsee)

Taapsee Pannu's healthy laddoos will give any dessert a run for its money

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 04:22 PM IST
  • Taapsee Pannu has been following a diet for the preparation of her film Rashmi Rocket. However, her diet is not as boring as one would imagine. It even includes laddoos. Yes, you can read that again.
Close
Researchers identified microbes that positively or negatively correlate 'good' and 'bad' with an individual's risk of certain serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.(Unsplash)
Researchers identified microbes that positively or negatively correlate 'good' and 'bad' with an individual's risk of certain serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.(Unsplash)

Study uncovers connection between intestinal microorganisms, diet and ailments

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 11:40 AM IST
A study published in Nature Medicine shows that diets rich in plant-based foods empowers the presence of gut microorganisms that are connected to a lower danger of regular ailments including coronary illness.
Close
Representational image(Unsplash)
Representational image(Unsplash)

Here's why breastfed babies have improved immune systems

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:05 PM IST
Research has revealed new insight into the biological mechanisms of the long-term positive health effects of breastfeeding in preventing disorders of the immune system in later life.
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

In coronavirus pandemic era, older adults isolated but resilient

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:51 PM IST
That’s one type of health — physical. When it comes to mental and emotional health, older adults are showing resilience and persevering despite struggles with loneliness and isolation
Close
Kiara Advani's high-intensity workout video will leave you breathless(Instagram/kiaraaliaadvani and sohfitofficial)
Kiara Advani's high-intensity workout video will leave you breathless(Instagram/kiaraaliaadvani and sohfitofficial)

Watch: Kiara Advani's high-intensity fitness video will leave you breathless

By Nishtha Grover, Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:17 PM IST
  • Kiara Advani's trainer recently shared a video of the Kabir Singh actor doing a high-intensity work out. To be honest, we are in awe.
Close
Kimchi, kombucha demand on rise amid buyer's lockdown craze for fermented food(Twitter/SeanWal49402031/thefoodbabe)
Kimchi, kombucha demand on rise amid buyer's lockdown craze for fermented food(Twitter/SeanWal49402031/thefoodbabe)

Kimchi, kombucha demand on rise amid buyer's lockdown craze for fermented food

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 02:54 PM IST
A sudden spike in demand for fermented health products like kombucha and kimchi has appeared as the behavioural side effects of the pandemic and the lockdowns it spawned
Close
Milind Soman does pull-ups(Instagram/milindrunning)
Milind Soman does pull-ups(Instagram/milindrunning)

Milind Soman's Friday mantra may inspire you to start your fitness journey soon

By Nishtha Grover
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 02:28 PM IST
  • Milind Soman recently shared a fitness video in which the actor can be seen doing pull-ups. Along with the clip, he penned an inspiring note asking his followers to make every choice count.
Close
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have discovered that fruit flies with genetic modifications to enhance glucose uptake have significantly longer lifespans.(ANI)
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have discovered that fruit flies with genetic modifications to enhance glucose uptake have significantly longer lifespans.(ANI)

Research:s Good diet, glucose uptake in brain lead to longer life in fruit flies

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 01:39 PM IST
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have discovered that fruit flies with genetic modifications to enhance glucose uptake have significantly longer lifespans.
Close
Representational image(Unsplash)
Representational image(Unsplash)

Covid isolation worsens student diets, inactivity, alcohol intake. Here's why

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 01:04 PM IST
A new study has found that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to significant worsening of already poor dietary habits, low activity levels, sedentary behaviour, and high alcohol consumption among university students.
Close
he avian section at Lucknow Zoo has been closed for public in wake of bird flu. (HT Photo)
he avian section at Lucknow Zoo has been closed for public in wake of bird flu. (HT Photo)

Bird flu scare: Lucknowites look for veg options!

By Deep Saxena
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:52 AM IST
Despite message issued by doctors, veterinary scientists and concerned department about consumption of ‘fully-cooked’ chicken-egg is safe, people are still going for vegetarian options which are available in winters in abundance
Close
Rapid blood test can now identify patients at highest risk of severe Covid-19(Twitter/WebMD)
Rapid blood test can now identify patients at highest risk of severe Covid-19(Twitter/WebMD)

Rapid blood test can now identify patients at highest risk of severe Covid-19

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 08:24 AM IST
Since some coronavirus patients get better without intensive treatment, scientists have now developed a rapid blood test that can identify patients at highest risk of severe Covid-19 complications or death
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Polycystic Ovarian Disease: Here are some natural ways to fight PCOS, PCOD

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 09:41 PM IST
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), also known as PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that is characterized by the overproduction of a woman's hormone levels, irregular menstrual periods, and cysts in the ovaries.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP