Matching a Tumour to a Drug & Other Chemosensitivity Testing. Also, clinical trial info for OC/BRCA1

I've read a lot recently about tumour profiling - matching a specific tumour to a specific drug. I am on a clinic trial at the moment called rucaparib as I have a BRCA1 gene mutation - grade 3b ovarian cancer.

The trial is under the auspices of Clovis Oncology Inc in collaboration with Foundation Medicine. Foundation Medicine was recently approached by Bill Gates who decided to investment in the company. Foundation Medicine has developed a test that can match a tumour sample to a genetic mutation that could be targeted by a specific drug or clinical trial.

“Bill Gates, global-health philanthropist met with Michael Pellini, CEO of Foundation Medicine, to talk about Foundation's $5,800 test which "analyzes tissue biopsies for some 280 genetic mutations that are suspected of driving growth and proliferation of tumors. More than 700 oncologists have ordered the test, which was officially launched in June, in an effort to match patients with medicines that target the genetic anomalies specific to their tumors."

“In one recent case, Dr. Pellini says, a sample from a woman with advanced pancreatic cancer yielded a response for 'her2,' an alteration associated with a certain form of breast cancer. She was treated and her cancer responded to the breast-cancer drug Herceptin. Few oncologists would think to look for her2 in a patient with pancreatic cancer, he says.”

I went to see Justin Stebbings at The LOC in London who uses a similiar company to profile his patients. He mentioned that Bupa has funded this so it may be worth checking out if you are covered by a private insurance company.

Further Chemosensitivity Testing, incl. Complementary Therapies.....

I have also researched a company in Greece that analyses cancer cells’ resistance or sensitivity to both conventional AND complementary agents as well. The test costs approximately £1,500.

Elaine xx

8 Replies

  • Hi there Elaine...

    This is the way forward isn't it? So many of us go through treatment only to be told that a particular drug isn't right for the disease. Wonderful stuff. Let's hope that very soon, we'll have more information about our individual diseases. The only thing that worries me is that patients might be denied treatment because it's usual for a certain type of tumour not to respond when there might be something more complex going on in terms of mutations. I hope that the use of targetted treatment doesn't mean fewer drugs being made available to those who might just respond. It's just my own musings. Thanks for the information.. it was really interesting to read with some hope. x

  • That's the beauty of these tests, they will home in on your own DNA as opposed to the type of cancer. Awesome stuff.T hese new approaches are so inspirational and give me the hope I need to look forward to being a beneficiary of such amazing new technologies.

  • Dear Elaine

    Thanks for putting up such an informative and detailed blog. I'll be checking out all your links too. It's great news that this treatment is becoming available via more routes. It's an inspiration for us all and your blog filled me with hope and new ideas to explore.

    Love Annie xxx

  • Hi, Elaine. Thanks for the information and the links to the companies who perform genetical testing.

    My oncologist said genetic testing may be one option, as I have ovarian clear cell carcinoma, and this cancer is resistant to platinum chemo. Happily, my second line chemo is doing a good work and the genetic testing was postponed... I hope I don't have to do the testing cause it means the tumour is not responding to chemo, but it's a good reference to know more companies are doing this testing, so maybe prices will go down.



  • Hope they will become available without huge financial outlay ........... and soon

  • There is a company in the USA that will do tumor profiling for OVCA at no cost. The founder is an OVCA survivor and biochemical engineer. Please contact them if and when you have a recurrence. Their website is Tell them NormaLeah sent you.

    Good luck!

  • How amazing! Thank you so much; just goes to show what people can achieve when they pull together!

  • Thank you, Elaine, for all this info. So interesting and it can only give us hope, which is so desperately needed - besides a speedy cure, of course !! (and maybe a Lottery win? :-)

    Best wishes, Solange

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