Targeted therapies are based on an enhanced understanding of tumor biology, such as genomic mutations that drive cell proliferation.
With genetic sequencing becoming increasingly accessible to patients, clinicians, and researchers, biopharmaceutical companies have begun developing targeted therapies aimed at tumors with specific genetic alterations. These therapies require companion diagnostics – tumor assessments to ensure a patient’s tumor exhibits the requisite biomarker profile – and generally drive higher response rates than traditional “all comer” cancer therapies focused primarily on tumor indication without a patient-selection biomarker.
Companion diagnostics can be associated with specific therapeutics or can be general, broad-based diagnostic panels that support multiple therapeutics. Several companies have developed broad-based tumor-profiling diagnostic panels with tumor-associated genes. These tumor-profiling panels are dynamic – being updated by diagnostic companies to reflect an increasing number of targets – adding breadth and depth of content for characterizing patient tumors. In turn, clinical oncologists have begun incorporating genetic sequencing for certain cancers into routine clinical practice in hopes of guiding patients to medicines with greater therapeutic potential for their specific cancer.
With genetic screening techniques continuing to improve and gain in clinical practice, we believe that precision medicine approaches should result in the discovery and development of more effective targeted therapies.