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Progress in stratified medicine for genetic cancer sub-groups

Report of a story in the news   |   By Dr Philippa Brice   |   Published 20 August 2011

Sources: Press release, Nature news blog

A new phase II UK drug trial is underway for patients with advanced hereditary breast-ovarian cancer, which arises from mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. 

Funded by Cancer Research UK and the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, the study will examine the effect of the thiopurine cancer drug 6-mercaptopurine on cancer cells with BRCA mutations. Previous research has shown that other drugs such as PARP inhibitors can target such cells effectively (see previous news), but patients can develop resistance to these treatments. 

Our view:

Trials of personalised (or more accurately, stratified) medicines targeted specifically at specific sub-populations of patients will become increasingly common in coming years, especially in cancer. The drug vemurafenib (PLX4032) has just been approved in the US for the treatment of advanced melanomas that have mutations in the BRAF gene (see previous news). 

Keywords: Pharmacogenetics

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