Using Next-Generation Sequencing to Move from Companion Diagnostics to Companion Therapeutics in Oncology

October 22, 2014
Using Next-Generation Sequencing to Move from Companion Diagnostics to Companion Therapeutics in Oncology
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Naomi O’Grady

The application of genomics in cancer has led to an improved understanding of the disease. To date, 125 driver genes have been discovered—71 tumor suppressors and 54 oncogenes—that promote tumor growth through 12 cellular signaling pathways.1 These pathways have become the focus of small molecule inhibitor drugs, primarily targeting kinases. While the number of available targeted therapies is limited, more than 800 oncology drugs are in development, many of which are designed to target specific mutations.2

Yet, the tumor genomic landscape is heterogeneous and researchers are finding that it evolves as cancer progresses. While single-analyte companion diagnostics exist, they require investigators to assay each target sequentially. The process is costly, time consuming, and in many cases exhausts the limited tissue available for analysis.

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