How to access targeted cancer treatments

How do I access targeted therapies and immunotherapies for my cancer treatment?

What are targeted therapies and immunotherapies?

Targeted therapies and immunotherapies represent the new era of powerful anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells but have minimal effect on normal cells and therefore not associated with the levels of toxicity experienced following chemotherapy. Targeted therapies have been specifically designed against the different types of DNA mutations in cancer cells that cause these cells to divide uncontrollably. The identification of these mutations and the linked therapeutic opportunities is critically dependent on the comprehensive genetic profiling of the tumour.

Targeted Therapies Explained

Precision oncology testing

The first step is to identify these new therapeutic opportunities is to undertake tumour genetic profiling. The Oncofocus genetic DNA profiling test is performed directly on the patient’s tumour biopsy which has been taken for making either the initial diagnosis or following relapse. In addition tissue removed during surgery can also be used for testing. These tissue samples are routinely stored in the pathology department of the treating hospital following reporting by the pathologist. Testing of this tissue enables us to link the tumour with over 780 of the modern anti-cancer targeted therapies and immunotherapies. No additional biopsies or blood samples need to be taken for the majority of patients.

Approved therapies, off-label prescriptions and clinical trials

Once the relevant targeted therapies are identified the next step is how to access these drugs. Some drugs may already be approved having successfully completed clinical trials and will be licensed by the regulatory authorities (eg FDA, EMA, NCCN or ESMO) for use in the clinic. This enables the oncologists to directly prescribe the drug. These approved therapies are covered by the state care systems such as the NHS in the United Kingdom. Sometimes there is a delay between drugs being licensed by the regulators and the coverage of the drug by state healthcare systems. In these cases the cost of the drugs can be covered by medical insurers or patients can potentially be enrolled in managed access or early access programmes which enable access to the drug free of charge or at reduced costs.

Other drugs may be in clinical trials and importantly the Oncofocus test identifies all clinical trials globally. The mutation detected by the Oncofocus test is the entry requirement into these clinical trials and enables patient’s access to these drugs free of charge. Notably these type of clinical trials are secure access meaning that every patient is guaranteed access to the drug. In many cases the Oncofocus test can also provide information about how successful these drugs are performing in trials. This is called efficacy data.

In other cases targeted therapies relating to a particular DNA mutation may have been approved in a tumour of other type to that diagnosed in the patient. For example, HER2 amplification is licensed for prescription of several therapies targeting the HER2 gene in breast and gastric cancers. However, patients with a wide range of tumour types can still gain significant benefit from these treatments if they also have the HER-2 amplification in their tumours. In these cases, if a clinical trial is not available, the patient can potentially obtain the drug off-label, i.e. outside of licensed indications. This can be achieved in three different ways:

A. Off-label prescriptions can be covered by private health insurers when there is efficacy data available for the patient’s specific tumour type. Oncologica can in most cases provide this information.

B. The patient can have the drug prescribed privately and self-fund the cost of the treatment.

C. If a patients has exhausted standard treatment protocols, oncologists can sometimes request the drug free of charge on compassionate grounds directly from the pharmaceutical company.

Oncologica: Behind the Scenes

Oncologica’s doctors, nurses and scientists are passionately dedicated to this new era of precision oncology. Their biggest reward is to finding personalised treatment options that work for patients who have not responded to the standard chemotherapy.

Oncologica’s highly trained and experienced professionals are committed to provide evidence based genetic profiling allowing patients to take full advantage of the increasingly effective and highly personalised anti-cancer treatments, so that we can keep alive the hope of all those who are fighting against this complex disease.

How to order an Oncofocus Cancer Test
Simple and fast

Kitty Williams

CLINICAL TEAM LEAD

“We provide cancer patients with personalised treatment options based on their unique tumour DNA profile

“Having exhausted standard therapy for my stage 4 bowel cancer, Oncologica identified a targeted therapy, which would work on my rare genotype. After just 4 weeks of treatment, I have gone from being bedbound to swimming, walking and fully enjoying all that life has to offer again. I am truely grateful”
M.C.

“I had the Oncologica test in October 2018 and at present am on a clinical trial… At present the drug is holding the cancer… I am extremely grateful for the part played by Oncologica in recommending this trial

“..got recommendations in the type of drugs I should be taking, I got onto a programme and they did a rescan of my Brain tumour last week after 4 weeks of treatment and it has reduced by 50% which is the first time in 7 months”

“My wife is now on a targeted therapy programme rather than chemo or radiation. She is doing great, you helped save her life, thanks”

Free Consultation to advise on suitability for genetic testing

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