Melbourne Genomics-supported trial shows benefits for patients with rare cancers
November 14, 2018
Early results have today been released from a patient-initiated trial, supported by Melbourne Genomics, using genomic testing to match rare cancers to cancer treatment.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Professor Clare Scott, a medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Women’s Hospital, presented the NOMINATOR Pilot Study results at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting. The study is part-funded by Melbourne Genomics and Australian Genomics through the Advanced Solid Cancers Project.
The trial sequenced a panel of genomic markers in participants’ cancers to identify molecular features or genetic changes in the cancer that could be targeted with existing treatments used in other cancer types with the same characteristics.
While genomic testing is increasingly being used in cancer diagnosis and treatment, Nominator is one of the first Australian studies to look at the potential benefits for those with rare cancers, which have very low survival rates. This kind of research has also typically been restricted due to the challenge of finding enough patients with each type of cancer to design appropriate clinical trials.
“Australians in this trial came to us after they had exhausted all their options. Using genomic profiling, we were able to uncover new information that gave many patients new treatment options – and ultimately, new hope,” Professor Scott said. “Genomic profiling provided meaningful information that influenced diagnosis and treatment in around half of the participants. Twenty per cent of those tested got a new treatment plan as a result and six per cent of participants received a new diagnosis.”
The results released today included 36 patients. The two-year study will eventually include 100 patients and will lay the groundwork for other national initiatives investigating genomic profiling across a range of cancer types.
Melbourne Genomics congratulates Professor Scott and her team on these interim results.
[Image: Professor Clare Scott consulting with a patient]