BENGALURU: GENOMIC Radiation Therapy determines the appropriate radiation dose for a cancer patient, pertaining to the patient’s genomic profile. It reduces side effects and enables increased tumour control because of precision medicine. The first few cancer types to benefit from this treatment are Head and Neck, Breast and Cervix Cancer. Cvergenx, a genomic informatics company is partnering with Bengaluru-based HCG hospital to bring this technology to the city, a first in South East Asia, said hospital authorities.
The therapy is in its validation stage and the hospital hopes to incorporate it in its standard of care after around an year. Dr Lohit Reddy, consultant radiation oncologist, head of the department of Radiomics and Radiogenomics, Health Care Global Hospital, said, “Now, we have uniform dosing for all patients but we are trying to have genomically adjusted radiation dose. Study will be conducted on around 100 cancer patients starting with head and neck. First, radiosensitive and radioresistant genes will be studied to determine whether high or moderate doses of radiation has to be given to a patient after collecting his genomic data. But all radiation will be within clinical range.”
Dr Javier Corres Roca from Florida’s Moffitt Cancer Centre is a pioneer in this technology who developed it in 2009, said Reddy.“The main benefits will be enhanced tumour control and lesser side effects. With intensity modulated radiotherapy, there will be lesser suffering in patients. The validation does not include Cancer patients directly but tumour specimens stored by the hospital. While in the USA the validation has been done with 6,000 tumour specimens, we cannot go by those results as they were Caucasian patients. We are trying to validate the technology in Indian patients,” Reddy said.
The validation is being done after an approval from the institution review board comprising of a scientific committee and ethics committee. Dr Ajai Kumar, Chairman, HCG, said, “Genomic radiation will lead to better outcomes and better treatment as it will be targeted. The number of radiation sessions will increase or decrease depending on how much the patients needs it. We will be the first Indian Cancer hospital to offer it to our patients.”
“The radiation dose prescribed depends on the cancer type and surrounding normal tissue tolerance. Doses are generally given so that less than 5 per cent of patients suffer serious toxicity up to 5 years following radiotherapy. Serious side effects such as bowel obstruction and incontinence can occur months to years after treatment, be extremely debilitating and impact negatively on the quality-of-life of cancer survivors ... there is a need to increase our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of radiotherapy toxicity, find ways of predicting those patients likely to suffer with long-term side effects, and develop new approaches for their amelioration,” said a paper published on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information.