A new study has shown the power of genetic testing to pick out the best drugs for children with cancer to extend and improve their lives—signaling a new era of precision medicine for young patients, Medical Xpress reports.
The pilot including more than 200 children found that half had gene mutations that are targetable by adult cancer drugs that are either available as standard treatment or via clinical trials.
Although few children on the study went on to receive adult drugs, those who did receive targeted therapies had significant benefits.
But the study also laid bare the regulatory and funding barriers to children receiving the newest drugs, as only 7 percent of those with targetable mutations were able to access the appropriate adult drug.
The study was led by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and offered genetic testing of tumors to children as part of a clinical trial. Some 20 additional hospitals around the UK participated by sending children's biopsies in for testing.
The research is published in the European Journal of Cancer today (Thursday) and was primarily funded by the parent-led charity Christopher's Smile and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).