THE BENEFITS OF DNA PROFILING FOR

Pancreatic
Cancer Patients

The advancement in genetic profiling in the last few years now offers enhanced cancer treatment options for pancreatic cancer.

DNA profiling enables doctors to identify therapy options that are likely to offer the most successful outcomes

Everything you need to know about pancreatic cancer

Key points relating to the disease and its treatment.

Let’s start by understanding how this desease spreads in the human body. Most pancreatic cancers arise from the ducts ; exocrine pancreatic cancer.

This grows with a gland like structure and is referred to as adenocarcinoma. The second major cancer type is pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.

There are additional subtypes which form the minority of tumours.

 

THE PANCREAS CAN BE DIVIDED
INTO THREE AREAS:

Although some of these tumours behave in a benign way, the majority are malignant. Early pancreatic cancers are localized to the pancreas but as the disease progresses it is not rare for them to spread to local lymph nodes and then more distant sites such as the lung and liver.

The earlier the cancer is detected the better the chances of successful treatment. Early disease can be treated with surgery such as a whipple’s procedure aimed at cure. If the tumour has spread further then it is fundamental to know the enemy. Genetic profiling enables the identification of relevant targeted personalised drugs that can be used to control the disease.

Benefits of DNA profiling and targeted therapies for
Pancreatic Cancer

Targeted drugs have recently been developed which act as “magic bullets” against a whole spectrum of cancer genes involved in the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer. These targeted agents have been engineered against the specific mutations in the cancer genes that are driving the growth of tumour cells

The use of targeted therapies is critically dependent on a comprehnsive DNA profiling test performed on the pancreatic tumour biopsy. 

This allows the detection of mutated cancer genes and thereby the identification of the corresponding linked targeted therapies that have been designed against these mutations.

Immunotherapies harness the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer. 

Taking a Genetic Test
on pancreatic tumour samples

Process for Taking a Test

  • The clinical team offers free consultation services to advise you on suitability for testing
  • Tumour samples are collected from the patient’s hospital
  • DNA/RNA sequencing is carried out on the sample
  • Detected mutation are then matched to immunotherapies and target therapies likely to provide positive results
  • A report containing the personalised treatment profile is sent to your doctor.

Genetic testing has several benefits whether the results turn out to be either negative or positive for a gene mutation. Besides, the test results give people a sense of relief from anxiety and uncertainty and also helps people and doctors make knowledgeable decisions.

When the result is negative, you eliminate the need for unnecessary screening tests and check-ups in some cases. On the other hand, a positive result directs an individual towards available treatment, monitoring, or prevention options. Also, screening of newborns can detect genetic disorders early which enables the commencement of treatment as soon as possible.

ABOUT ONCOLOGICA LABORATORIES

Oncologica® is a leading precision oncology certified laboratory based in the prestigious Chesterford Research Park, Cambridge, UK.
Since 2015 we have been helping oncologists and patients every day to get the maximum benefit from new advanced genetic profiling techniques for the treatment of cancer.

Everything you need to know about pancreatic cancer

How does this type of cancer spread?

Although some of these tumours behave in a benign way, the majority are malignant. Early pancreatic cancers are localized to the pancreas but as the disease progresses it is not rare for them to spread to local lymph nodes and then more distant sites such as the lung and liver.

The earlier the cancer is detected the better the chances of successful treatment. Early disease can be treated with surgery such as a whipple’s procedure aimed at cure. If the tumour has spread further then it is fundamental to know the enemy. Genetic profiling enables the identification of relevant targeted personalised drugs that can be used to control the disease.

What is the standard way to treat this type of tumour?

Standard approaches to pancreatic cancer:

  • Surgical removal
  • Adjuvant Chemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiotherapy

The standard treatment for early localized pancreatic cancer aimed at cure involves surgical removal of the tumour by undertaking procedures such as a Whipples operation or more limited surgical interventions including total or partial pancreatectomy, which is often followed by chemotherapy to clear up any remaining cancer cells (adjuvant chemotherapy).
In the case of advanced cancers although chemotherapy can’t cure the cancer it can help to control the disease for a time.

Additional treatment options include the use of radiotherapy which can help shrink the tumour and relieve pain symptoms. A small tube called a stent can be used if there is a blockage of the bile duct which can alleviate jaundice. These interventions can reduce or control symptoms and significantly improve quality of life. 

Are there any other valid treatment options?

In some cases, standard treatments may not show the desired results.
Pancreatic cancer may fail to respond to chemotherapy or alternatively the drugs could stop working.

There are also significant side effects associated with standard treatments. It is often a difficult choice for patients and clinicians assessing the benefits and disadvantages of such treatment interventions.

Importantly, however, more modern cancer treatments options are now available for patients who have progressed following standard treatment protocols or are at an advanced stage of disease following spread to distant sites such as bones, liver and lungs.

A new and modern approach to pancreatic cancer which is now becoming the front-line treatment for those standard treatments did not work but also for early stage pancreatic cancer patients as first choice pathways are Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapy.

Beyond standard treatments: the era of Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapies for pancreatic cancer

Targeted drugs have recently been developed which act as “magic bullets” against a whole spectrum of cancer genes involved in the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer.

These targeted agents have been engineered against the specific mutations in the cancer genes that are driving the growth of tumour cells.

These new drugs can be more powerful than chemotherapy but do not have the associated side effects on the normal cells of the body because normal cells do not carry mutated cancer genes, so are therefore involved in a marginal way.

What does targeted therapies approach require in order to be applied?

Identifying and taking advantage of these new targeted therapies requires a comprehensive DNA profiling test on the pancreatic tumour biopsy.

This allows the detection of mutated cancer genes and thereby the identification of the corresponding linked targeted therapies that have been designed against these mutations.
Immunotherapies can also be used to treat patients with pancreatic cancer.

These drugs harness the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer.

Benefits of DNA profiling and targeted therapies for Pancreatic Cancer

The starting point to identify these powerful new therapeutic opportunities is by comprehensive  genetic profiling. Without cancer genetic profiling these new therapeutic opportunities will remain unidentified for patients with pancreatic cancer.

  • 15 working days for genetic profiling
  • 500+ tested genes
  • 780+ associated Targeted Therapies
  • 12 weeks periodic updating of mutations and therapies database

The Oncofocus Test is a clinically validated test accredited by CLIA and by UKAS for ISO15189:2012 and detects thousands of genetic variants across the most clinically relevant cancer driver genes. Oncofocus currently targets hundreds of genes and detects actionable genetic mutations linked to hundreds of anti-cancer targeted therapy combinations. The test is dynamic as the mutations and therapies database is ciclically updated to reflect changes in approval status of drugs and progress of clinical trials worldwide.
Immunofocus Test is usually carried out in parallel to ensure that all potential treatment options are identified by testing the patient’s suitability for immunotherapy.

How does a targeted therapy exactly work?

Targeted therapies represent the new era of powerful anti-cancer drugs that kill cancer cells but do not affect normal cells. Targeted cancer therapies are the cornerstone of personalised medicine, a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s DNA tumour profile to treat cancer.

The targeted agents 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 biopsy sample. The report generated following testing is a powerful and reliable clinical tool to establish the optimal therapeutic pathway going forward.

These genetically guided new anti-cancer agents can help patients live longer and avoid the toxicity associated with chemotherapy. Notably there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of targeted agents available, around 780 at the present time, as more and more DNA mutations are identified.

F.A.Q. on Oncologica’s test

What are the main advantages of taking the Oncofocus test?

The main advantages to taking the Oncofocus test are:

a. To identify new treatment options if standard treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have stopped working

b. To identify the best treatment to manage your cancer at an early stage

c. To avoid treatments that are not likely to be effective

d. To identify a new treatment if you have relapsed

Are there other tests available that are similar to the Oncofocus test?

a. Common genetic cancer tests just look at the cancer mutations. In contrast, the Oncofocus test is a single test that links the majority of available cancer drugs, including those in clinical trials, with the cancer mutation to find the best treatment.

b. Other cancer tests need fresh tissue samples and specialist shipping. In contrast, the Oncofocus test is performed on the routine biopsy tissue that is stored at your hospital.

How do I know if I will benefit from the test?

A lot of patients are treated successfully by their doctors without taking the Oncofocus test. Certain patients, however, may benefit from taking the test. These include:

a. Patients with widespread advanced cancers who have already had chemotherapy and radiotherapy but still need treatment. The Oncofocus test can identify a broad range of drugs that may be able to treat the cancer.

b. Patients with early cancer who have just being diagnosed. The Oncofocus test can help identify the best treatments, which will help you avoid side effects from drugs that are unlikely to be of benefit.

c. Patients with rare tumours or cancers of unknown origins. Treatment of this type of cancer can be difficult as there is no established method of treatment. The Oncofocus test can help match the tumour with the most appropriate therapy.

d. Patients with difficult to treat cancers.

Do you have any reviews from patients who have had the Oncofocus test?

Yes, you can find the Testimonials on our website at https://www.oncologica.com/testimonials/

or you can watch interviews on our youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk7JMp395b2BHSCK-p1XAnw/videos

 

What is the success rate of the Oncofocus test?

The Oncofocus test is able to identify targeted therapies and or clinical trials for advanced cancer patients in around 90% of cases.

How long does the Oncofocus test take?

From the moment that you submit your test request and consent form to us we start the process of requesting your histopathology reports and sample from the hospital which normally takes a couple of days.

Once the sample arrives in our laboratory can we can begin our testing. The testing period takes 15 working days to complete.

Can I have the test on the NHS?

Currently, the test is not available on the NHS. If you have health insurance, your insurer may pay for the test, otherwise you can pay for it yourself.

When and how do I pay for the test?

You will be invoiced for the test once we have received your signed consent form and have requested your histopathology reports from your hospital. 

Payment can be made online via a link sent with your invoice or you can give us a call and make payment over the phone. We take credit card payments.

How do I access any drugs or clinical trials that are recommended for me?

It’s difficult to comment on the precise way to access the drugs that are recommended for you by the Oncofocus test, until we know which ones are relevant.

The targeted therapies that will be recommended can be accessed through various routes – some may be covered by the NHS, others are covered by major insurers, and many others can be accessed through clinical trials free of charge. Some of the medications can be accessed via private prescription.

Your Oncologist will help you to access the medications or clinical trials that are recommended for you.

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    Note to patients: All contents on this page are for informational purposes. Decisions regarding medical treatments and diagnoses must always be made in consultation with your treating clinician.
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    Suite 15-16 The Science Village, Chesterford Research Park, Little Chesterford, Cambridge, CB10 1XL
    +44 (0) 1223 785327