Advances in personalized medicine allow physicians to tailor treatment to patients based on the genetic information of the patient or the patient’s disease. Personalized medicine and the ability to tailor treatment is fueled by genomic testing. In the case of many cancers, this testing analyzes the DNA of a patient’s tumor, providing insights to help the physician select an effective therapy.
Often, the time it takes to diagnose and find a treatment for a patient with cancer could be weeks or even months. This is especially true for lung cancer patients. In addition, because of the nature of the disease and where the tumors present, physicians may struggle to remove a tissue sample from a lung. When a lab performs genomic testing on it, it is very important that the testing is accurate and as comprehensive as possible because there may not be an opportunity to secure additional samples.
Another challenge is that selecting a therapy for lung cancer has traditionally involved trial and error, where a patient who doesn’t respond to one treatment may eventually be switched to another (and then another) to see if they improve. Regrettably, by the time an effective therapy is identified the disease may have worsened.
Now, a new test provides the potential to address these limitations for patients with the most common form of lung cancer. Imagine if there were a way to shorten the time it takes to select a treatment by days, or even weeks, based on testing from a single biopsy. That’s the premise behind a new test to aid the right therapy selection for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The Oncomine™ Dx Target Test is a new test recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as the first companion diagnostic to aid the selection of one of three FDA-approved targeted therapies for NSCLC. Created by Thermo Fisher Scientific, the test uses next-generation sequencing, a technique that examines multiple gene markers simultaneously, to examine 23 genes associated with therapeutic response. With these insights, the physician may test a patient for eligibility for all three therapies at the same time, cutting down the time it takes to finalize a selection and begin treatment.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., with NSCLC accounting for 85 percent of all lung cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, each year more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. It also estimates that there will be nearly 1.7 million new cases of cancer in 2018, 14 percent of which will be lung cancers. If diagnosed and treated early, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 55 percent for cases detected when the disease is still localized (within the lungs), which is why fast and accurate diagnostic testing is so important.
“When people think of personalized medicine they often think about the drug therapy. But it is the diagnostic testing that unlocks the insights into which therapies will work for the individual patient,” said Mridula Iyer, Director, Companion Diagnostics, Quest Diagnostics. “The Oncomine Dx Target Test can help physicians choose the optimal treatment paradigm for their patients to help improve their chance of success.”
Quest Diagnostics and Thermo Fisher have teamed up to make the Oncomine Dx Target Test broadly accessible nationwide. By February 2018, physicians will be able to order the service on behalf of their patients. Additionally, Quest will also have early access to Thermo Fisher’s pipeline of novel platforms and assays to assist with development of Oncomine-branded solutions for clinical and biopharma applications to be one of the first labs to be able to offer the tests to physicians.
The Oncomine Dx Target Test is the latest addition to Quest’s leading capabilities in oncology diagnostics. These range from inherited genetics, such as BRCA testing, to PD-L1 immunotherapy selection. Quest was the first national diagnostic provider to engage IBM Watson’s cognitive computing analysis to aid therapy selection for solid-tumor sequencing. Today, many of the world’s marquee health systems refer their most advanced cancer testing to Quest.
Quest will perform the Oncomine Dx Target Test at its oncology center of excellence, based at the Med Fusion site in Lewisville, Texas. From this center, Quest provides evidence-based next generation sequencing services with an emphasis on community oncologists, who provide the majority of cancer care in the United States.