Clinical OMICS

JUL-AUG 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 32 of 51 July/August 2019 Clinical OMICs 31 developmental multi-cancer early detection blood test. The test was able to show robust detection in a group of 12 can- cers at early stages of disease, as well as identify the tissue of origin in 90% of cases. Every single one of us that work in this field wants to see the day arrive when the early detection of all cancers is not just possible, it's routine. I believe these data brought us one step closer to that day, and the buzz felt throughout the con- gress echoed that belief. For us, the details of the announcement had additional meaning too, as they provided further validation of tech- niques and approaches that have potential across many other branches of precision medicine. It was encouraging to see the accuracy and specificity that can be achieved through testing markers of epigenetic gene regulation, such as DNA methyl- ation, as these data provide important insights that validate approaches we and others are taking in the research setting. Biomarkers front and center once again Another highlight of my ASCO was seeing so many exam- ples that reinforced just how essential biomarkers have become and how, as a field, we have embraced a biomark- er-led approach so quickly and with such positive outcomes. It seems incredible that even five years ago the predomi- nant focus for therapy development was still around broad approaches for large populations. To be where we are today—with biomarkers leading the charge when it comes to progress—is a huge achievement. Pinpointing the right patients for PDL-1 inhibition One stand-out example for me was the updated analysis of the IMpassion130 trial in advanced triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The original study results showed no sta- tistically significant survival benefit for atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel compared to placebo at 18 months; results that would have signaled the end of the line a few years ago. But this new analysis in PDL-1 positive patients found a substantial clinically meaningful overall survival benefit of seven months. Furthermore, more than half of the atezoli- zumab patients were alive at two years compared to 37% of patients taking placebo. These results are significant because they clearly strengthen the argument for baseline testing at the point of diagnosis. In fact, for me it can no longer be a question of if we test; it has to be about how, when and, if we're not (continued on next page) Photo © ASCO/Max Gersh 2019

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