A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM, and the Helsinki University Central Hospital has developed a novel individualized systems medicine (ISM) strategy which enables selection of potentially effective cancer therapies for individual patients.
Results achieved by applying this strategy to 28 patient samples have been recently published in the Cancer Discovery journal.
Most of the patients studied had chemoresistant adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a disease characterized by poor prognosis.
AML is today largely treated by the same chemotherapeutic agents as applied 30-50 years ago. Here, the researchers measured the response of patients’ cells to a panel of 202 cancer drugs covering all approved and many emerging cancer drugs. A list of the most likely effective and ineffective drugs was created for each individual patient and passed on to the treating physician to consider.
Several patients benefited from the therapy selected based on the drug sensitivity testing results. For example, one patient previously unresponsive to three rounds of chemotherapy achieved complete clinical remission with a treatment optimized with the ISM platform.
– We integrate three complementary information sources, drug testing results, genomic profiling of cancer cells and clinical information. Repeated sampling of patients plays a major role in understanding and learning from each success and failure, explains Krister Wennerberg, one of the principal investigators behind this study.
– We are very excited about this ability to provide a truly individualized approach to patient treatment, says hematologist Kimmo Porkka. – In the future, this may pave the way for testing of all types of human cancers.
– It is also important to note that we now tested severely ill patients, completely refractory to current therapies, says Director Olli Kallioniemi from FIMM.– In the future, we hope to impact on therapy of earlier leukemia patients and design effective combinations of treatments.
Drug sensitivity testing - new possibilities for personalised cancer treatment
Genome sequencing - new possibilities for personalised cancer treatment