What is “genomics”?
Cancer develops when genetic material (DNA) becomes damaged or changed. We know some cancer causing genetic changes are acquired (i.e. smoking), while others are inherited. Studying cancer genomics explores the differences between cancer cells and normal host cells. Advances in understanding how cancer behaves at a genomic and molecular level is helping doctors treat cancer “smarter”.
Bladder Cancer: Stepping into the Era of Precision Medicine
Correct diagnosis is the foundation for effective treatment. And looking at the genes instead of just the cancer class is helping improve diagnosis. Traditionally, cancer diagnosis depends heavily on assigning a cancer into certain classes by analyzing cancer’s cell and tissue features. In recent years, gene and other molecular analysis tools have been used more frequently – and the molecular diagnosis practice is paving the road toward the era of precision medicine.
By analyzing molecules and gene sequencing data, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently found that a subtype of bladder cancer has the same molecular signatures as a subset of breast cancer. Both groups express low levels of a protein called claudin and share a same type of immune deficiency. These similarities could mean it is possible to treat these two types of cancer originating from different anatomic locations with the same regimen of checkpoint inhibitor drugs or an approach of modern immunotherapy.
More research is still needed, but the door is now open to make more accurate and clinically meaningful diagnoses of cancers based on genetic testing results than just on the tissue features viewed from under the microscope. This would make precision medicine possible to benefit thousands of cancer patients around the world.
The era of precision medicine is here: Doctors could choose the right therapy for the right patient with the information derived from genomic testing. While traditional methods treat cancer based on the body part where the cancer first originated, genomic testing looks at cancer on the molecular and gene levels.
Genomic testing reveals the unique genomic drivers for each patient’s cancer. This empowers oncologists to design optimal, individualized therapies to maximize treatment success. Click here to learn more about genomic testing.