A clinical trial for types of advanced cancer is the first of its kind to show that precision medicine - or tailoring treatment for individual people - can slow down the time it takes for a tumour to grow back, according to research presented at the Molecular Analysis for Personalised Therapy (MAP) conference, today (Friday).
Results from the trial, which took place at the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus in Paris, found that 199 out of 1110 patients with advanced cancer, who had their genes mapped and their treatment tailored, had around 30 per cent longer before their cancer started growing again compared to any of the previous therapies the patients had tried. This ranged from between five and 32 months.
This trial involved patients who had no other treatment options left and who had already tried three or more cancer therapies. The team found potential faulty molecules to target for 411 of these patients and experimental drugs to hit the targets for 199 of these patients.
The patients on this trial had diverse types of advanced cancer including lung, breast, head and neck, prostate, bladder, bowel and stomach cancer.
The MAP conference is a joint initiative between Cancer Research UK, UNICANCER and ESMO.
Professor Jean Charles Soria, principal investigator of the trial from the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus, said: "This is the first precision medicine trial to show that analysing a person's DNA improves treatment options for patients with late stage cancer. And these results are particularly exciting because in some cases we were testing experimental drugs, and found that we could slow down the growth of tumours in around one in five patients with advanced cancer."
Dr Christophe Massard, head of the early drug development multidisciplinary committee at Gustave Roussy, said: "The great thing about this is that it's not just for one type of cancer - patients with many different types of cancer could benefit from this in the future."
Dr Rowena Sharpe, head of precision medicine at Cancer Research UK, said: "This is an exciting time for precision medicine and personalised treatment. It's fantastic to see continued effort going into this area and it's important that we make the most of the data that we already have. The MAP meeting brings together expertise from across the globe to find the best ways to improve precision medicine programmes for cancer patients."