Cancer treatment and research has, thus far, been based on the location in the body of a cancer. Now, treatment is switching focus to genetic markers of cancers.
As researchers look for new ways to approach tough-to-treat forms of cancer, many are focusing on genetics — more specifically, they’re looking at the type of genetic tweaks found in cancerous tumors.
One early-stage cancer company, Loxo Oncology, hopes to eventually sequence the tumors of its patients and use that data to find out what drugs their disease would respond best to. With this kind of tool, the type of cancer someone has (breast cancer vs. lung cancer, for example) wouldn’t matter so much as the genetic information gleaned from the tumor.
In data presented Sunday night at the American Association of Cancer Research, Loxo gave an update on their ongoing Phase 1 trial for their drug, LOXO-101, which works in cancer patients with a mutation called a “TRK gene fusion.” Phase 1 clinical trials for cancer drugs are used to figure out what dose is safe, how it should be given, (in this case orally), and if it has any effect on the people it’s treating.
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