TopicsHealth & WellbeingUK: tailored cancer care

UK: tailored cancer care

Combining whole genome sequence (WGS) data with routine health data in people with cancer can help doctors provide more tailored care, the largest study of its kind has found.

WGS allows doctors to read a person’s entire genome – the 3.2 billion letters that make up their DNA – with one single test. The technique can be used to compare DNA from a patient’s tumour to the DNA in their healthy tissues.

Researchers looked at the data alongside routine clinical data (such as treatment type) from participants over five years. Researchers found specific genetic changes in the cancer associated with better or worse survival rates and improved patient outcomes.

For instance, more than 90% of brain tumours and 50% of colon and lung cancers showed genetic changes that could affect how patients are treated, guiding decisions about surgery or specific treatments they might need. And in over 10% of ovarian cancers, inherited risks were pinpointed offering crucial insights for care.

The study analysed data from more than 13,000 participants with cancer in the 100,000 genomes Project. The analysis also revealed patterns across several cancers and uncovered different types of genetic changes that might predict possible outcomes.

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield from Queen Mary University of London said the study showed ‘how we can transform cancer care from a “one size fits all” approach into precision healthcare’. Helen White at Genomics England thanked the participants who made it all possible ‘despite the challenges of a cancer diagnosis’.

Image | Unsplash


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