How TGen, Dell, and Intel are working to make personalized medicine mainstream
Personalized medicine—marked at times by both excessive hype and dour skepticism—is a reality today, albeit one with a still modest reach. One of the best examples is an FDA-approved, first-of-its kind pediatric clinical trial in which children with a deadly, fast-growing cancer ...(neuroblastoma) have their tumors biopsied and characterized by modern molecular medicine tools (microarrays and next-generation sequencing). The resulting RNA profiles (gene expression) were interpreted by a predictive analysis platform that matched promising drugs to each patient’s individual tumor.
Speed is crucial because trial subjects were either refractory or relapsed with poor prospects. These are children, mostly under age five. The trial goal was to complete biopsy-to-treatment determinations in 21 or fewer days. A multidisciplinary Molecular Tumor Board, informed by the computational predictions and its own expertise, made final therapy decisions. So successful was this first proof-of-concept trial with just 14 patients that a follow-on trial, encompassing all pediatric cancers in a much larger (100-plus) patient cohort, has begun, with patient recruitment now underway.