Cancer Therapies – How Refined Clinical & Molecular Data Are Making Them Possible
Although there is still much to be learned about the precise causes of cancer, scientists have established that many malignancies arise from genetic abnormalities. The DNA changes that allow tumors to develop, grow, and spread can vary widely among individuals—even those with the same condition. It follows, then, that two people who have the same type of cancer and are given the same therapeutic may respond differently based on the genetic makeup of their tumor.
Tumor heterogeneity is one of the primary reasons why some cancer treatments are unsuccessful or eventually lose their initial beneficial effects. Many anti-cancer agents are designed to work against defects that are presumed to be present in all tumor cells. However, no two cancer patients are alike, and neither are their tumors. To be most effective, oncology therapies must be designed to target a tumor’s specific genetic variations.
A long-held goal of oncology medicine has been to develop highly targeted therapies that home in on the specific genetic characteristics of a patient’s tumor, rather than taking the traditional approach of treating the cancer based solely on its tissue of origin. Despite the promise of personalized medicine, however, many challenges must be addressed before it can become a reality. For most cancer patients, it is not yet the standard of care.
Scientists now know that the key to personalized cancer treatment lies within genomic data. Based on this crucial knowledge, oncology researchers are increasingly seeking—and gaining access to—massive quantities of valuable clinical and molecular information.
M2GEN Is Powering Precision Medicine
Before researchers can utilize voluminous raw data to its greatest potential, the data must first be meticulously organized, structured, refined, and analyzed. That is the precise focus of M2GEN, an oncology-focused bioinformatics company. We specialize in the science of processing biological data to make it useful for research purposes. Through our IRB-approved Total Cancer Care® protocol and the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN), M2GEN unites a diverse assemblage of scientists, clinicians, and patients with a goal to fundamentally change the way cancer is studied and treated. As a result, we are able to provide our clients with access to a pipeline of longitudinal clinical and molecular data of unparalleled scale.
Over the last several years, M2GEN has made groundbreaking advances in the refinement of clinical data and the generation of molecular data, enabling scientists to determine the complete genetic makeup across the full spectrum of cancer types. This vital work has facilitated the development of more targeted cancer treatments, which are directly leading to better patient outcomes and quality of life. M2GEN also works closely with each client to develop custom bioinformatics solutions that are designed to aid their research efforts based on highly refined criteria, such as the specific genomics that play a key role in the growth, progression, and spread of a patient’s cancer.
Conquering Heme Malignancies
By forging a first-in-kind collaboration among the major stakeholders in cancer research, M2GEN is proud to have driven and contributed to several landmark discoveries. For instance, as an active member of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), we are committed to enhancing the understanding of heme malignancies through clinical and scientific hematology research. Recently, M2GEN provided transcriptomics for an important drug sensitivity study in multiple myeloma treatment (the “MM Drug Sensitivity Study”).
Multiple myeloma is a heme malignancy that remains incurable, mainly because many patients eventually relapse or stop benefiting from their treatments. The latter reason may be attributed to the clonal evolution of multiple myeloma cells and/or bone marrow microenvironment changes, both of which can contribute to drug resistance. Hematology-oncology medicine continues to become more refined through ongoing advances in multiple myeloma treatment, including novel chemotherapy drugs, drug combinations, and delivery methods, and there is no question that those refinements are effectuating better patient outcomes, in some cases leading to long-term remission. Nevertheless, acquired drug resistance remains the greatest obstacle to successful treatment for many patients with multiple myeloma.
The approach employed by the researchers who participated in the MM Drug Sensitivity Study proved to be useful in identifying candidate drugs and potential predictive biomarkers for continued evaluation in clinical trials. The outcome of the study further underscored the need for—and effectiveness of—targeted therapies for multiple myeloma as well as other types of cancer.
Transforming Cancer Care
Although it is not yet clear whether all cancers are driven by DNA changes that can be targeted with treatment, M2GEN—along with many other members of the general medical community—is optimistic that the ability to assess genetic abnormalities in tumors will ultimately lead to more precise cancer treatments and better patient outcomes.
M2GEN aims to one day conquer cancer with targeted therapies, a challenging goal that we nonetheless believe is within our grasp. Toward that end, we are continually expanding our vast portfolio of data solutions, services, and technologies, allowing our research partners to overcome many of the obstacles in gathering and structuring genomic data so they can devote more of their valuable time to discovery and analysis, and ultimately draw more meaningful conclusions. Together, we are transforming cancer care and making precision medicine a reality for countless patients.
For information about our custom and ready-made data solutions that leverage the power of bioinformatics, contact us today.