A research team led by Brian Van Ness, Ph.D, from Masonic Cancer Centre, University of Minnesota, claim to have identified combinations of genes associated with early clinical relapse of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells that produce antibodies, which can help predict patient's response to treatment.
"Ultimately, the goal of this research is to predict drug efficacy and toxicity based on a patient's genetic profile, and develop individualized assessments and predictions for the right drug, at the right dose, for the right patient," said Van Ness.
"This approach offers the dual benefits of avoiding unnecessary treatment for patients less likely to respond to a particular drug, and targeting treatments to those who will benefit most," he added.
For the study, Van Ness and his colleagues analysed the genetic information that the International Myeloma Foundation has gathered from myeloma patients worldwide through its program, Bank On A Cure(r).
"Although myeloma is considered a fatal disease, individual patients have widely varied rates of disease progression and response to treatment because of attributes encoded in their DNA," said Van Ness.
According to Van Ness, the research study findings demonstrate that cancer outcomes differ because patients vary in the ways they absorb, distribute, metabolize, and transport drugs across cell membranes.
Individual variations in genes that regulate these biologic processes may not only affect the effectiveness of the drug, but also can result in adverse side effects.
The findings are reported in the current issue of the research journal BMC Medicine.