Taking Targeted Therapies In Cancer To Next Level

February 07, 2019
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Memorial Regional Hospital South (MRHS) has gone live with its next steps to precision care medicine.

At the direction of Dr. Artur Rangel, medical director of MRHS laboratory, next generation sequencing (NGS) in the Molecular Genetic Lab was recently launched giving pathologists and physicians a more precise tool to developing targeted cancer therapies using a patient’s DNA.

Currently, when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, a biopsy is conducted to determine the type of cancer.

The pathologist makes the first discovery to determine the stage of the cancer. Based on that finding, the physician or pathologist will order the next generation sequencing for that type of cancer.

The test will reveal what type of mutations or abnormalities are within the cells in the cancer which provides valuable information that correlates to determining certain types of drugs that will work with treating the cancer and which cells show resistance to treatments. 

Ultimately, utilizing this technology saves time for patients and much more by providing physicians with the information necessary to creating a more accurate diagnosis and personalized cancer treatment which promises more effective treatment and fewer side effects based on a person’s or tumor’s genetic makeup. 

At this time, MRHS can screen the majority of solid cancer tumors found in a breast, colon, pancreas, brain, liver, prostate and lung. NGS allows large scale genomic testing and data gathering for both clinical and research purposes.

Molecular testing at Memorial Healthcare System has been in existence for more than 10 years, while genetic testing has been available for the last two years. This next step utilizing the patients DNA brings precision care medicine to the next level.

"The launch of our Precision Care services in oncology was the first step to build a comprehensive precision medicine laboratory," said Dr. Rangel. "Thanks to the talent and energy of the team at Memorial, we are now able to offer cutting edge genomic testing right here in our community."