Personalized Cancer Therapy Gets Closer: Genetic Testing Allows Doctors to Select Best Treatment

Some businesses are finding that a handful of patients — who may already be paying thousands of dollars for their diagnosis and treatment — are willing to pay for cancer-related genetic information. Last year, for example, a company called CollabRx, based in Palo Alto, California, began offering a service that analyses 15,000 genes, looking at gene expression, copy number and single-base mutations in individual patients’ tumours for between $50,000 and $100,000.

Five patients have used the service, which aims to determine which available drugs might be most suitable. Jay Tenenbaum, the company’s founder and chairman, calls CollabRx’s approach “personalized oncology research” because the results of each patient’s individual analysis are used to help guide future analyses in other patients.

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