PHG Foundation issues call for widespread adoption of new genomic technology

With only five per cent of patients with lung cancer estimated to live for more than 10 years after diagnosis, PHG Foundation calls for widespread adoption of promising circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) testing.

[London, UK] The PHG Foundation is calling for the introduction of a new genomic technology called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) testing across the whole of the NHS for a sub-set of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Official statistics for the past 40 years indicate that only five per cent of patients with lung cancer survive for more than 10 years after diagnosis and around 80-85% of cases being NSCLC.

It is the second most common type of cancer in the country, with approximately 47,000 patients diagnosed and around 36,000 deaths every year.

Scientists explain that tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) can treat tumours with mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene for a sub-group of patients with NSCLC, but a genetic test is needed for the therapy to be prescribed.

New technology to support personalised medicine

Although ctDNA testing is currently being used in several UK laboratories, a new PHG Foundation report is looking at ways the technology could be embedded across the entire health system.

Key findings include maximising the utility of the new genomic technology to expand access to TKIs and extracting learning from current use of ctDNA tests to support future delivery.

Dr Laura Blackburn, Policy Analyst with the foundation and lead author of the analysis, said: “The development and provision of ctDNA testing for patients with NSCLC by NHS laboratories in the UK is a positive advance.

“Not only is this testing increasing access to targeted therapies that improve patient outcomes, but it is also a less invasive method of testing as it only requires a blood sample, and benefits patients who are unable to undergo a solid tumour biopsy for clinical reasons or who have had a failed biopsy.”

The PHG Foundation is a health policy think-tank focused on the use of emerging technologies into healthcare and genomics.  

Related content:

Report calls for increased awareness of ctDNA testing for lung cancer

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