Wednesday 8 May 2013

New York Times piece on personalised medicine

The New York Times recently published an article on Foundation Medicine and their approach to personalised cancer genomics (targeted sequencing of 236 cancer genes). The test costs $5800 and is covered by some insurers in the USA. And the reports from the test have caused doctors to change patient therapy. 

So far so good. A personalised test a cancer patient might be able to afford (and they may not have to pay anyway). 

The article also refers to the My Cancer Genome web site, which offers a gene-by-gene portal into Cancer genomics. The site lists different diseases and points users to some of the literature supporting the impact of a particular gene on cancer. For examples a user can search for melanoma and BRAF to find mutations that might affect prognosis. At the same time they can check for clinical trials that might be ongoing.

Targeted sequencing is getting loser and closer to reality in the clinic. The technology we are using in my lab (and others like it) is becoming pretty robust. All that is needed is a good way to make doctors aware of what's possible and get the results into their hands in a way that means they can focus on medicine and not bioinformatics.

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