Since 2017, people facing a cancer diagnosis in Chile are eligible for a single test, capable of revealing their genomic alterations and delivering options for targeted therapies, immunotherapies or clinical nsayos available so far.
Foundation Medicine (FM) – with nearly a decade of existence in the United States – is a platform that identifies molecular alterations through an exhaustive analysis of genomic profiles. In simple terms, this mechanism provides a unique test, capable of revealing ALTERATIONs in DNA that drive cancer growth, thus helping to identify personalized treatment options, based on the integral genomic profile of the tumor. All this, without discriminating any possibility of treatment among all available.
«We can know with a greater sensitivity the mutations, allowing us to get ahead with a predictive role of response to treatment and other prognosis,» says Bradford Hill Clinical Research Center Executive Director Carlos Rojas Garcia.
For the Doctor of Biomedical Sciences and in charge of the implementation of this platform in Chile, Benjamín Caballero, the biggest challenges facing health systems today lie in system inefficiencies and uneven results in diagnosis and treatment of patients, who require innovative solutions that bring together all advances in science, biotechnology and artificial intelligence at the service of people.
«This innovative model seeks to transform clinical practice through the lifting of personalized information for each patient, ranging from electronic medical records to genomic testing. We develop targeted care plans, with the potential for better performance in patient health,» Caballero said.
He added that «this implies a new way of understanding the equation, generating a new ecosystem that place the patient and their well-being at the center of all decisions.»
The value chain begins with the technology used to identify genomic alterations through NEXT Generation Sequencing (NGS). A committee of experts then conducts a clinical and scientific review of the information, so that each person has a strategy that is consistent with their molecular profile and prevents the development of resistance to therapies, maximizing the response and minimising its toxicity.
All this, relates to an extensive database updated in real time on molecular profiles and treatments, allowing to provide the best therapeutic option for the patient and preserving all the information, thus providing a unique opportunity to the medical equipment to conduct further investigation.
«With this, patients can benefit in terms of efficacy and quality of life. Typically, such methods tend to be better tolerated and have better results than conventional treatment,» Dr. Rojas said. The service consists of moving a tumor sample to the FM lab in Boston, USA, tracking the process, delivering a final report to the treating physician, scientific advice for the interpretation of results, and training oncology support teams.
Since its arrival in Chile in 2017, more than 120 tests have been carried out, and among the institutions that have relied on this entity are the Arturo López Pérez Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the Chilean Air Force and the German clinics , The Andes, UC-Christus, Santa Maria, Dávila and Las Condes.
The importance of having this tool in the country
Chile is one of the two countries in Latin America where cancer diseases are the leading cause of death. This is pointed out by the latest Cancer Approach Preparedness Index (ICP) of The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, adding that by 2030 it is estimated that cases will increase by 40%, in turn growing by 47% deaths for this reason.
In this context, in relation to new forms of treatment, there is a growing tendency in the medical community to address each cancer as unique, depending on the molecular variations of each tumor. This new form of characterization has given way to new solutions, which through innovation seek to treat each patient in a personalized way.
Currently, Foundation Medicine is the only genomic profiling company approved by the U.S. agency responsible for the regulation of Food & Drug Administration (FDA) drugs for more than 18 target therapies; it works in active collaboration with more than 30 pharmaceutical companies worldwide and has more than 300,000 genomic profiling performed on various types of cancer.