How is Personalized Medicine Used at St. Luke's Cancer Center

How is Personalized Medicine Used at St. Luke’s Cancer Center?

The field of personalized medicine is having its greatest impact in cancer. At St. Luke’s, our multidisciplinary team of physicians and genetics counselors meet on a regular basis to review genomic information as it relates to the diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancer.

Genomic profiling for breast cancer

When it comes to breast cancer, research has shown that out of 100 breast cancers, 70 different unique combinations of cancer-causing genes exist. Today, several commercially available tests help diagnosis the type of breast cancer and, in turn, determine the prognosis and the need for or benefits of chemotherapy in treating an individual breast cancer.

St. Luke’s uses tests including Genomic Health’s Oncotype DX® and Agendia’s MammaPrint®, genetic profile tests that outline an individual’s unique breast cancer. In fact, St. Luke’s was the first facility in the region to use MammaPrint®, an FDA-cleared 70-gene genomic profile that provides information about tumor biology and actively identifies a woman’s risk for recurrence. MammaPrint can provide prognostic information in both ER-positive and ER-negative early-stage, node-negative breast cancer. This test requires that the tissue be appropriately preserved at the biopsy procedure or at the time of surgery.

Translational research

St. Luke’s uses the Illuma Bead Array ReaderTM, an innovative gene-chip technology that allows for translational research, transforming the latest discoveries in the laboratory into innovative new treatments for cancer patients. Amazingly, the one-inch gene-chip can evaluate the expression of all 25,000 human genes from a sample. The knowledge gained from genomic research can lead to scientific discoveries and clinical applications that may ultimately reduce cancer incidence and improve survivorship.

As new drugs are designed to combat new cancer-causing genes, these tests will become more important. Using clinical trials to identify unique genetic defects for which drugs are currently being tested will allow patients to participate in and receive leading-edge therapies in appropriate situations.