The need for much earlier cancer diagnosis
Cancer kills for three principal reasons:
- It spreads to distant sites making surgical removal impractical
- It often becomes resistant to chemo and immuno-therapy due to developing numerous sub-clones, each expressing many different mutations unrelated to the ones first targeted. Terminal cancer is extremely polyclonal in nature.
- In any individual patient, the capacity of the drug to bind to the intended protein target on the cancer cells is not determined.
It is therefore widely recognized that the earlier cancer is diagnosed the better the prognosis for cure, consequent upon three main advantages:
1. The cancer will be smaller
2. Metastasis is less likely to have occurred
3. The cancer will be far less polyclonal
Today however, cancer is mainly diagnosed when it is symptomatic, which means that it is large enough to have produced clinical symptoms. At that point in a cancer’s evolution cure is much harder to achieve, as borne out by currently dismal survival statistics.
That is precisely why the MutantDx Liquid Biopsy holds such promise as a radically different way of diagnosing cancer when it is still asymptomatic, and small enough to be potentially cured with targeted chemotherapy and immuno-therapy. Such treatments are likely to be predictably more effective since:
there are far fewer cancer cells to be killed with targeted chemotherapy
the cancer is likely to have fewer clones
patients can be stratified according to the binding capacity of the intended drug to its target protein (splice variant) to ensure effective targeting with chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs
the resulting inflammatory response to the death of the cancer cells will attract an additional conventional immune response killing some or all of the resistant clones simply as collateral damage – the ‘bystander effect’.
The effectiveness of treatment will be determined by remission of the ‘driver’ DNA mutations identified in the biopsy prior to treatment.