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Trial seeks 'genetic fingerprint' for predicting drug effectiveness
Date:10/3/2007

CINCINNATIUniversity of Cincinnati (UC) physician-scientists believe identifying a genetic fingerprint could help predict which specific therapies will be most effective for patients with gastric cancer.

Syed Ahmad, MD, is leading a national, phase-2 trial to test the effectiveness of combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy given to patients with gastric cancer before surgery. His team will also collect biological samples in an attempt to obtain genetic data that could be used to formulate targeted therapies.

Previous studies have established that either chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery can improve patient survival compared with surgery alone. Overall survival rates, however, remain lowwith 20 to 30 percent of American patients surviving more than five years after treatment.

Everyone agrees that without surgery, gastric cancer in not curable, and numerous studies have shown a benefit to follow-up therapy with either chemotherapy or radiation therapy, says Ahmad, assistant professor of surgery at UC and principal investigator of the trial.

The problem is you cant give both radiation therapy and chemotherapy after surgeryits too toxic and patients cant tolerate it, he says. But you can give it before surgery when patients are healthiest.

This trial addresses what Ahmad calls the future of cancer therapy: targeted drug regimens, based on the characteristics of a patients specific tumor.

His goal is to identify a genetic fingerprint that could help predict whether patients will respond to therapy, and then identify drugs to address the specific molecular characteristics of that patients tumor.

Right now treatment is based on the assumption that site-based cancers are all the same, so every patient who has stage-3 gastric cancer will get the same chemotherapy drugs, Ahmad explains. But the reality is that every cancer has a different expression of hormones, growth factors and gen
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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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