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Gene Chip Data Can Boost Cancer Outcomes

4 of 7 patients with incurable disease fared better, doctor says

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- DNA microarray chip analyses of tumors may help improve treatment for some patients with incurable cancers, a new study finds.

Dr. Eric P. Lester, president of Oncology Care Associates in St. Joseph, Mich., had seven patients with advanced, incurable cancer.

To determine which drugs might offer them the most benefit, Lester used DNA microarray chips to analyze the patients' tumors for expression of certain genes associated with a good response to various anti-cancer drugs.

He then used the results from the gene chip analyses to determine an individualized treatment plan for each patient.

Four of the seven patients had a better outcome than expected, said Lester, who was to present the findings this week at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Atlanta.

The findings show that "a personalized molecular oncology approach, basing chemotherapy on relative gene expression in tumors, holds promise even at the relatively crude level employed here," Lester said in a prepared statement.

"Much of clinical medicine is an educated guess, and this was an attempt to come up with a better approach by using the technology of a gene chip to make multiple, highly educated guesses simultaneously," he said.

More information

For more on cancer care, head to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Sept. 19, 2007

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