Health Care

#GPnews: Hope that new blood test could boost prostate cancer survival

#GPnews: Hope that new blood test could boost prostate cancer survival”

By looking for cancer DNA in blood samples, researchers were able to identify men with defective BRCA genes who were likely to benefit from a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors.

The study also found that the blood test could pick up the first signs that the tumour is evolving to become resistant to treatment, potentially speeding up efforts to try new lines of attack. Precision medicine or personalized medicine concerns the customization of healthcare.

Lynparza - abandoned at one stage by AstraZeneca but revived by CEO Pascal Soriot when he took over in 2012 - became the first PARP drug to reach the market when it won US approval for ovarian cancer at the end of 2014. In relation to the new research, medical laboratory testing could select the appropriate therapy for an individual person based on a given person's individual genetic make-up and particular physical characteristics.

More than 40,000 men in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, making it the most common male cancer. This type of cancer describes the development of cancer in the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system).

The men were taking part in a phase 2 clinical trial where they were treated with olaparib (Lynparza), a targeted cancer drug called a PARP inhibitor.

A new 3-in-1 blood test could revolutionise the treatment of prostate cancer, say scientists, and help pave the way for personalised patient treatment. Hence the need for a test to determine which individual patients would benefit and which would not.

These patients survived and average of 17 months compared with 10 months for those whose cancer DNA levels remained high.

They found that the cells acquired genetic changes that cancelled out the DNA fix defects making them susceptible to the drug.

"Blood tests for cancer promise to be truly revolutionary".

Bono said the three-in-one test may be used in the future to help doctors choose treatment for prostate cancer patients, check if the treatment is working, and track the cancer in the longer term. They found that cancer cells had acquired new genetic changes that canceled out the original errors in DNA repair-particularly in the genes BRCA2 and PALB2-that had made the cancer susceptible to olaparib in the first place.

'We think it could be used to make clinical decisions about whether a Parp inhibitor is working within as little as four to eight weeks of starting therapy.

In the future, the researchers believe the test could be used both before and after treatment.

"This is another important example where liquid biopsies - a simple blood test as opposed to an invasive tissue biopsy - can be used to direct and improve the treatment of patients with cancer". "That is why Prostate Cancer UK is investing so heavily in this area, including supporting this research released today".

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