Molecular medicine – or personalised medicine, still called precision medicine, – is based on a new approach to diagnosis, known as molecular diagnosis, which depends on analysis of the tumour genome. According to the results of this analysis, targeted drugs tailored to the genetic profile are tried. The objective is to be able to offer each patient drugs which are specifically targeted to the genetic profile of the tumour.
Until recently, a tumour was characterised by the organ it affected and its stage of progression. With molecular medicine it is also defined by its gene abnormalities.
This new treatment strategy requires:
- to identify one or more key molecular abnormalities specific to each tumour of each patient be identified. At Gustave Roussy:
- The biology and medical pathology technical platform are being used to carry out and develop tests for known molecular abnormalities;
- the biological platform is recognised by the National Cancer Institute (INCa) for molecular diagnosis of some mutations (FGFR and K-RAS);
- the Functional Genomics platform is equipped to identify new molecular abnormalities.
- to propose a “targeted therapy” directed to a specific molecular abnormality. The Drug Development Department (DITEP), the biggest department in France devoted to Phase I oncology trials, is able to give patients access to many novel targeted-therapy drugs.
- to evaluate the efficacy of these targeted therapies rapidly. The Institute’s Imaging Department using a particularly new technique of contrast-enhanced ultrasound can rapidly ascertain whether a new targeted drug is effective.
- to measure the psychological and social effects of these new therapies so that the medical and economic implications for society can be understood. The units within the Institute which can contribute to these studies are the Department of Supportive Care, the Research on Human and Social Sciences Unit and the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.