We hear about cancer related news almost every day, but pediatric cancer is unique because its targeted therapies are less available. Harris and colleagues just this past month studied the effects of individualized cancer therapy (iCat) recommendations and the feasibility of determining alterations in genomic sequences that can be targeted for treatment of pediatric extracranial (out side of the skull) solid tumors. The study was done from September 5, 2012 to November 19th, 2013 in 4 academic medical centers. There was also a one-year follow-up from the time of the visit. In order to be included in the study the patient criteria was 30 years of age or younger and with high risk, recurrent, or refractory extracranial solid tumors. Once selected, the tumors were profiled for their genetic sequencing. If an actionable alteration in the sequence was in fact present and iCat recommendation was made as long as an appropriate drug was available. Of the 100 participants it was found that 43 had results of potential clinical significance. They came to the conclusion that a clinical genomics study in pediatric oncology is feasible. It was also concluded that a large portion of pediatric solid tumors have actionable alterations in their genome.
Each case of cancer is different, especially in children. With new knowledge of certain places that we can begin treatment, such as an iCat, we are coming closer to an increase in survival rates. In my opinion there is still an immense amount of research that needs to be done, especially with pediatric cancer and stopping it from relapsing later in the child’s life. The use of genomics in this study really interested me because it is exactly what we talked about in class, targeted drug therapy. With the use of this I think we as the science community need to continue on looking at cancer and discovering drugs and therapies to overcome it. I believe that any tool that can help a health care professional make an informed decision on treatments is well worth it.
JAMA Oncol. http://oncology.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2484355 (published online January 28, 2016)