DNA map cancer treatment

A new laboratory could set the stage for a revolution in personalised cancer treatment in the coming decade, it has been claimed. Scientists believe that by mapping the DNA of an individual's tumours - a more targeted therapy can be administered.

DNA map cancer therapy is 'not science fiction'

Chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research Professor Alan Ashworth, comments on the Tumour Profiling Unit's research that will look at the use of DNA mapping in future cancer treatments:

None of this is science fiction. One would think in five or 10 years this will be absolutely routine practice for every cancer patient, and that's what we're aiming to bring about.

Genetic profiling of cancer is already being investigated at several laboratories around the world, but the new unit will pioneer its use in the clinic

'Mouse avatars' could be used in cancer therapy

The £3 million Tumour Profiling Unit (TPU) in London is to research the use of DNA mapping to identify patients' cancer strains. It is hoped the technique will pave the way for radical new forms of diagnosis, surveillance and targeted therapy.

One aim of the research is to develop "liquid biopsies" that search for free-floating cancer DNA in samples of blood. This can then be used to identify and monitor cancer sub-types that are likely to respond to particular drugs.

Another, controversial, proposal is the use of "mouse avatars" that mirror a patient's disease progression.

Tumour samples from patients will be implanted into mice which will then be observed closely to spot early signs of molecular change and resistance to therapy.

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DNA maps could hold key to future cancer treatments

A new laboratory could set the stage for a revolution in personalised cancer treatment in the coming decade, it has been claimed.

The £3 million Tumour Profiling Unit (TPU) in London aims to obtain the genetic map of an individual's tumours, enabling medical staff to give exactly the right drugs to tackle the disease.

Surgeons carry out an operation to remove a tumour from a patient at an NHS hospital. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Scientists will also use state-of-the-art techniques to track cancers as they progress, mutate and develop resistance to drugs.

The work, due to start this year, is expected to pave the way for radical new forms of diagnosis, surveillance and targeted therapy.

Patient trials are envisaged that will not only provide personalised treatments but follow the molecular development of tumours over time and combat drug resistance.