Intermountain, Stanford University see promise for precision medicine in cancer cases

Two news studies in peer-reviewed journals see positive signs for precision oncology.
By Bernie Monegain
12:32 PM
precision medicine in cancer cases

Oncologists Lincoln Nadauld, MD, and Derrick Haslem, MD, work at the Southwest Cancer Center in St. George, Utah.

Recent research from Intermountain Healthcare's clinicians shows the successful application of genomic-based approaches to studying individual cancer cases.

Oncologists Lincoln Nadauld, MD, and Derrick Haslem, MD, work at the Southwest Cancer Center in St. George, Utah. In addition to treating patients, they conduct research aimed at improving cancer care and precision medicine.

Their recent research has been published in two national peer-reviewed journals in collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare doctors and researchers from Stanford School of Medicine.

[Also: Precision medicine: Hype today but the promise is even bigger than we think]

One study outlines what the doctors call an "impressive" clinical course and positive outcome of a patient with metastatic colon cancer treated with a precision oncology approach. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology-Precision Oncology, a research publication outlet from the American Society of Clinical Oncologists.

The second publication, co-authored by Nadauld and published in Genome Medicine, shows that linked read sequencing is useful in characterizing oncogenic rearrangements in cancer metastasis.

Both studies were done in collaboration with Hanlee P. Ji, MD, senior associate director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center and Associate Professor at Stanford's School of Medicine.

Linked read sequencing, the researchers note, is a process that allows scientists and doctors to look at the molecular structure of tumor DNA in longer reads of 50,000 base pairs, as opposed to the typical 200-300, and thus "revealing the genomic complexity of patient tumors."

In reference to the Genome Medicine study, Nadauld points out: "In this patient, we were able to identify an amplification of a gene called FGFR2, which is critical because there are drugs that target that mutation.

"This case indicates there are broader applications for linked read technology, including diagnostic purposes and defining additional treatment options for patients along with new genes to target," he added. "With further study, pharmaceutical and biotech technologies can start to develop new drugs that target different molecular phenomena."

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