The first in a series of New York Times articles by science writer Gina Kolata on new approaches to cancer treatment underscored the type of cutting-edge approaches taken by the Life Raft Group’s own team of researchers.
The article tells the story of Dr. Lukas Wartman, a cancer researcher who was diagnosed with adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease he had devoted his life to studying. Through some amazing efforts by his team of researchers and his doctors he has been in remission after be given a drug familiar to patients with GIST: Sutent. But it wasn’t an easy path.
Dr. Wartman’s team decided to search for the gene mutation that was causing the cancer, and through whole genome sequencing found not only the malfunctioning gene, but matched it to a drug that would shut it down: in this case, it was Sutent, which is primarily used to treat advanced kidney cancer but also has become a second-line treatment for GIST. So far, the approach seems to have worked. It will now be tested in a clinical trial.
The Life Raft Group’s research team uses tissue samples to do gene sequencing in their search for a cure for GIST. Indeed, GIST is considered a model cancer in that some of the genes involved and the mechanisms for shutting them down have been identified, and targeted treatments like the one that worked for Dr. Wartman are available.
To read the full Times story, go here. Coming soon, a look at colon cancer research and parallels to the LRG team’s approach.