Personalised breast cancer programme launches in Cambridge
Posted: 18 November 2016 | Niamh Louise Marriott, Digital Content Producer | 1 comment
The project will analyse the genome and all expressed genes of tumour cells from 250 breast cancer patients to improve diagnosis and tailor treatment…
A new personalised breast cancer programme which will map patients’ DNA and RNA to tailor treatment to individuals launched at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute this week.
The project, which was launched with £1.1 million funding from Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, will analyse the genome and all expressed genes of tumour cells from 250 breast cancer patients to improve diagnosis and tailor treatment.
Professor Richard Gilbertson, CRUK Major Cancer Centre at Cambridge University, said, “The Personalised Breast Cancer Project is truly ground-breaking. By sequencing the entire tumour genome of women with breast cancer in our clinic and integrating this extensive data with other biological and clinical observations, we will assign patients to optimal therapy.”
Finding out what genes have become faulty in breast cancer cells will help researchers understand more about how cancer develops and spreads. It will also help doctors choose the best treatment for their patient.
Predicting patient response
Breast cancer patients are treated based on the broad types of cancer, for example, those that are likely to respond to hormone therapies, but it can be difficult to predict how individual patients will respond to treatment.
Professor Carlos Caldas, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: “We already know that there are around 10 different types of breast cancer, as we reported in 2012, and these respond differently to the available treatments. We’re looking at ways to predict this response ensuring individual patients get the best treatment for them.”
NHS and beyond
The researchers hope to find out how this personalised diagnosis and treatment programme could be implemented in the NHS’ breast cancer unit in Cambridge and hope that one day this will extend around the UK.
Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s CEO, said, “Today 8 in 10 women with breast cancer survive their disease for at least 10 years. The ability to tailor treatment to individual patients will help ensure this number continues to rise and should help reduce side effects. This project will bring us closer to making personalised medicine a reality in the NHS and beyond.”