Greater insights into the molecular processes that drive different types of cancer as well as considerable technological advances in the high-throughput analysis of tumour genetics has ushered in a new era of anti-cancer drugs that aim to target specific molecular processes. The central premise of so called ‘precision medicine’ is that matching one of these drugs and its mechanism of action using genetic markers to select patients — a process often referred to as matching the right drug to the right patient — can offer greater potential for durable clinical benefits.
A central focus of the Precision Medicine Laboratory (PML) is to use the most advanced DNA sequencing techniques is do this matching of the right treatment with the right cancer patient. This funding will allow the sequencing and analysis of tumours from a total of 200 Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre patients by the PML each year. It will also allow a more in depth analysis of DNA from a subset of these patients (40-60 per year).
This ‘molecular profiling’ of tumour tissues from patients in early phase clinical studies will enhance recruitment to these trials, and also provide valuable new insights into the tumour biology of these patients during and following treatment, and into how genetic changes might affect responses to therapy. Ultimately, the goal will be to improve the success rates of therapies for the benefit of cancer patients in Scotland, and more widely.