Tumor sequencing for access to new medication
How can tumor sequencing help develop new medication? What are the field’s technical and scientific challenges and goals? How might patients benefit? International experts in medical oncology will debate the topic on 22 October at the ESMO Congress held by the prestigious European Society for Medical Oncology. They will draw on findings shared by Prof. Christophe Le Tourneau, Institut Curie’s Head of the Early Clinical Trials Department, as well as his experience in molecular RCPs.
Every week, specialists including radiologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, biologists and pathologists at Institut Curie meet to examine medical records belonging to patients who have reached an impasse in terms of treatment. What biological samples are available for each patient? What genetic tests might be carried out on this material, and what information may be gleaned? Once these questions have been answered, the experts examine the patient’s results, and depending on their specific profile, assess whether or not the patient might take part in a clinical trial. Every year, 250 patients enjoy the benefits of Institut Curie’s RCPs, and 12% of them go on to receive new treatment based on the molecular alterations identified. “That figure may seem low,” says Prof. Le Tourneau, “but these are patients who have reached a dead-end, who are then given access to innovative treatment. We’re working on both the tests and trials themselves as well as on access to new medication to bump up this rate.” Until recently, these RCPs only covered targeted therapies: treatments that worked directly on molecular alteration in the patient’s tumor. Now, data on immunotherapy effectiveness has been incorporated, and patients are sometimes steered towards medication that bolsters their natural defenses for fighting the illness.
By sharing his pioneering experience and successful approach to organizing molecular RCPs, Prof. Le Tourneau will be enabling other hospitals to set up their own versions, both to improve patient care and to accelerate developments of new therapies. He will also be illustrating how Institut Curie is playing a key role in the Genomic Medicine France 2025 plan, the framework scheme that funds the ultra-high-throughput sequencing Ile-de-France SEQOIA platform (bringing together Institut Curie, Gustave-Roussy and the Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris).