What is “genomics”?

genomics-feature-imageCancer develops when genetic material (DNA) becomes damaged or changed. We know some cancer- causing genetic changes are acquired (i.e. smoking), while others are inherited. Studying cancer genomics explores the differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Advances in understanding how cancer behaves at the genomic and molecular level are helping oncologists treat cancer with greater success.  This is the key to precision medicine, treating each individual’s cancer as unique.

New Method for Detection: MishCTC

Metastasis— the spread of cancer to a different organ or tissue— is responsible for the vast majority of cancer-related deaths.  As cancer grows, certain cells detach from a primary tumor and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body. Detecting these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood samples could help with early diagnosis of cancer, but the biggest challenge facing CTC detection is that there is a lack of reliable biomarkers.

A new method called MishCTC is being developed to enhance the detection sensitivity. The new method is designed to detect a molecular biomarker called miRNA-21, which is a small RNA molecule that exists inside the tumor cells but can’t be detected in normal blood cells. Thus, miRNA-21 is an ideal marker for detecting CTCs.

With continual optimization, the MishCTC method could be used for molecular diagnostics in hospitals in the future. The results of this new test would provide vital and personalized information about a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and metastasis, which will guide the doctors to make much better and effective decisions to treat their patients.

Genomic Testing

MishCTC is a new method to detect cancer biomarkers.  Once detected, we can more easily detect the “Achilles heel” of the cancer.  While traditional methods treat cancer based on the body part where the cancer first originated, genomic testing looks at cancer on the molecular level.

Genomic testing reveals the unique genomic drivers for each patient’s cancer. This empowers oncologists to design optimal, individualized therapies to maximize treatment success. Click here to learn more about genomic testing.