All cancer patients deserve better, personalised, treatment
One of the most high profile research fields in modern healthcare is that of cancer care. The leaps in medicine mean that in the UK, cancer survival has doubled in the last 40 years. What’s more, 50% of people diagnosed currently survive for 10 years or more (CRUK, 2010-11). These are incredible statistics that show the real-world effects of better cancer research and care. But, as the incidence of new diagnoses is rising, we need to do more.
There is a wealth of information in a human’s DNA. Amongst the genes that code our height, our hair colour, and whether or not we can roll our tongue, is a huge amount of other information that offers medically relevant insights. Cancer, for example, occurs as a result of mutations in a person’s DNA. Study of a cancer patient’s tumour DNA, and the mutations within it, therefore gives us a window into that specific tumour; from this we can tailor a treatment strategy unique to the cancer and patient — this is called personalised medicine.
Two-thirds of first-line therapy fails for cancer patients. That means that for 240,000 people per year (CRUK, 2013-2105), chemotherapy, the standard of care for many cancers, doesn’t work. What’s more, these patients have to wait until the end of their treatment, usually 6 months, to find this out. That’s 6 months of the horrendous side-effects of chemotherapy, only to be told that it was ineffective. We want to change this. If we can find out sooner whether a patient is — or is not — responding to therapy, we can change treatment regimes accordingly, improving their chance of a favourable outcome. Ultimately, this will give clinicians the power to act faster in order to provide better cancer care to all.
Unfortunately, personalised medicine is currently only available to a few. But as costs of DNA sequencing decreases, and as it’s offered more routinely as part of cancer treatment, we believe that the future of personalised medicine for everyone is in sight. Once this future becomes a reality, doctors will need new tools to understand how best to analyse the wealth of information available to them to make the best treatment decisions. Through the power of artificial intelligence (AI), genomic data can be analysed far better than ever before, empowering doctors to make more informed clinical decisions and enabling personalised cancer treatment for all. Once enough data is available on how tumours respond and adapt to specific therapy, we may be able to go even further: predicting, at diagnosis, which treatment regime will be most suitable for each individual patient.
CCG.ai exists to ensure that that all cancer patients get better, personalised, treatment. Through our AI platform, we hope to aid in the democratisation of precision oncology, improving treatment outcomes and giving doctors and patients the power to act faster.