Hi I’m Jenny Brockie. Tonight on Insight, cancer breakthroughs, how far have we come?
How cancer forms is that there are a series of changes or mutations in DNA. If we figure out what those changes are, then they potentially tell us not only about how cancers form, but they also contain targets for therapies that we can potentially apply.
And that pink mark shows a very active, hot tumour.
Normally you do a biopsy and you look at it with a microscope and the pathologist says it’s this sort of tumour or that sort of tumour. But on this occasion, firstly the pathologist had always struggled to say exactly what sort of tumour did Navzad have.
But secondly there was a growing movement to analyse tumours in great depth, and there was a company in America, a commercial operation, who you could send a tumour sample to, and they will analyse it for expression of all sorts of genes and genetic mutations in the tumour cells and proteins, and come up with some suggestions for what drugs might work.
All of a sudden we had a drug tailor made for this exact cancer. Melanoma drug is what we gave him. This wasn’t melanoma. It was a brain tumour.