—Today’s Dismal Outcomes for Patients With Gastric Cancer
Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide. It is particularly prevalent in the Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. This cancer is so deadly that less than 3 out of every 10 patients survive longer than 5 years after diagnosis.
One of the reasons that gastric cancer is so vicious is that it arises from many genetic alterations. Tumors that arise in different patients could have diverse molecular characteristics; even different parts of the same tumor mass in the same patient may be genetically distinct. The high degree of heterogeneity in gastric cancer is a key reason for low patient survival, as the distinct genetics of each individual’s disease calls for a tailored, personalized therapeutic strategy for effective treatment.
Unfortunately, the word “personalized” is a luxury when talking about treatment options for gastric cancer, especially for late-stage patients. The reality is that most patients with gastric cancer still receive a kind of “one-sizefits-all” treatment. Not surprisingly, the same treatment may work for one patient, but may not work for another while causing more harmful side effects.
—Personalized Treatment Approach
A more personalized treatment is urgently needed for better patient outcomes.
The personalized approach that is tailored to each patient’s tumor will allow doctors to choose the optimal therapy that will be most effective and least toxic for each individual patient. Such personalized and targeted cancer therapies will be more successful and less costly than conventional treatments.
The success of this new approach to cancer treatment will heavily rely on a firm understanding of the molecular underpinnings of gastric cancer, then we can exploit the specific vulnerabilities imparted by the underlying genetics. By targeting the diverse molecular characteristics that drive the disease, new therapeutics can be developed, which can then be selectively prescribed to individuals based on the distinct molecular profile of each patient’s cancer.
—Mapping the Gastric Cancer Genome: Identifying New Treatment Targets
One of the most effective ways to identify these molecular characteristics is by sequencing the gastric cancer genomes. Because there is so much genetic variability in gastric cancer, in order to do the sequencing effectively, a large quantity of high quality gastric cancer tissue samples need to be collected from patients, which is a hard-tofind resource faced by all cancer researchers.
Fortunately for many years, AFCR leaders have been working with the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital (TMUCIH) on a project called the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia (TBCA). This tissue bank consortium collects and stores high quality tumor tissues from patients with all types of cancer. Today, TBCA houses one of the best gastric cancer tissue collections in the world. The tissue bank consortium is able to provide the collaborative scientists an unprecedented resource that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
THE NEXT STEP
—Moving Towards Personalized Medicine with United Efforts
Using advanced, “next generation sequencing” technology, cancer researchers could generate genomic profiles of a large quantity of gastric cancer tissues provided by TBCA.
This large-scale genome mapping approach will allow researchers to identify a comprehensive collection of gene mutations. These gene mutations will then be provided to our international collaborators for the discovery of new treatments for gastric cancer patients, whether by developing entirely new anti-cancer drugs or by identifying existing drugs that are already able to target the specific mutations found in gastric cancer by this research.
With more therapeutics available that target various gene mutations in gastric cancer, oncologists could then match the drugs to individual patients based on the specific genetic vulnerabilities found in their own tumors, taking a personalized approach with maximal treatment benefits for each patient.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
—You Can Help Develop Personalized Treatment for Gastric Cancer
Your support of AFCR will enable scientists to fully understand how cancer occurs, and develop new and more tailored therapies that directly target each cancer patient’s tumor.
In short, your support will lead directly to more effective treatments with fewer side effects for the patients.
AFCR is already leading the charge to cancer research through the development of personalized treatments, and we can do this because of your continued loyal support.
When you support AFCR, you’re funding a vision: one in which patients in China and around the world no longer live in a fear of gastric cancer. There is no better way for you to help make this happen than to support the Asian Fund for Cancer Research.
Thank you for your continued support of AFCR. With your donation, you are saving lives.
Please click here to send in your generous gift today. Thank you for your dedicated support!