A groundbreaking study conducted in England, deemed the largest of its kind globally, suggests that cancer patients could benefit from “genome sequencing” of tumors. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, indicates that common types of cancer possess genetic traits that can aid doctors in making decisions regarding drug treatments or surgeries, potentially revolutionizing diagnostic methods and life-saving treatments, reported Al-Qabas Daily.
The study was carried out by Genomics England, a government-owned British company, with the participation of approximately 14,000 volunteers. Scientists analyzed the DNA present in each individual’s cancerous and healthy tissues and linked genetic mutations to clinical data related to their treatment and disease progression.
Dr. Nirupa Murugasu from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust hailed the study as an essential milestone in medicine, highlighting the integration of cancer genomics into general cancer care across the healthcare system and the benefits that patients can derive from it. Professor Matt Brown, Chief Scientist at Genomics England, noted that the National Health Service (NHS) is the only program internationally that offers whole genome sequencing for a wide range of cancers, further underlining the significance of the research.
The findings unveiled substantial differences between various types of cancer, with over 90% of the most fatal brain tumors exhibiting useful genomic features to guide treatment, while the figures stood at around 70% for melanoma and approximately 50% for lung and colon cancer. Ian Walker, policy director at Cancer Research UK, a charity not directly involved in the study, expressed optimism about the potential of this research to enable the development of new personalized and precise treatments.
Trevor Graham, a professor of genomics and evolution at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, stated that whole genome sequencing could serve as a diagnostic tool to determine which drugs may be beneficial for individual cancer patients. This study sets the stage for a groundbreaking new approach to cancer treatment, offering hope for improved patient outcomes and paving the way for more targeted therapies in the future.