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Significant number of cancer patients failing to receive the right treatment

1 November, 2022

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Diaceutics study of US patient data shows 64% of lung cancer patients failed to receive the appropriate treatment for their needs

Ground-breaking findings have serious implications for global cancer treatment

Failure to pursue personalised treatment strategies can limit the impact of medicines and costs lives

LONDON, 31 October 2022: A significant number of lung cancer patients did not receive access to the most effective medicines for them and their cancer type as a result of sub-optimal testing in the disease testing and diagnosis process, research by Personalised Medicine organisation Diaceutics in the peer reviewed JCO Precision Oncology reveals today.

The US-based study of lung cancer patients found inefficiencies when testing for a patient’s DNA and cancer type (a process known as biomarker testing), which is used to select a cancer treatment which is right for that specific individual.

This means patients are frequently unable to access the most effective treatment, tailored to their genetic make-up (known as Personalised Medicines) with considerable implications for their recovery and well-being.

Major failings in the biomarker testing process

Using data from 38,068 USA-based cases of those diagnosed in 2019 with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), this study reveals the barriers preventing patients from receiving these specialised treatments. This includes:

  • 18% of patients not receiving the correct treatment because of inconclusive or false negative diagnosis test results, and
  • 29% because, although tests were successfully carried out, the clinicians did not prescribe the treatment the patient could have benefitted from.

Overall, the publication demonstrates that the use of biomarker testing strategies benefitted only 36% of the patients in the study. This means the majority of patients studied were not able to benefit from Personalised Medicine, meaning they were instead provided with treatment which may have limited recovery and, in the worst cases, shortened the lives of those who missed out on the right treatment for them.

NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer, with the majority of cases of this cancer found to be especially receptive to the use of Personalised Medicines. Research shows inferior survival rates among lung cancer patients who do not receive Personalised Medicines, despite having tumours that express these actionable biomarkers.

Alarming implications for global cancer testing and treatment

While the study was collected from US-based data, sourced from Diaceutics’ Global Data Repository, the findings are highly significant and reflective of the limitations present across other geographies and cancer types. Current statistics show that 1 in 2 people will battle cancer during their life, reflecting the scale and seriousness of the issue at hand.

The National Cancer Institute credits targeted therapies and immuno-oncology drugs for more than a decade’s worth of declining death rates for lung cancer patients. These ground-breaking findings therefore represent the first step in understanding the scale of a problem which prevents millions of people from getting the correct and timely healthcare they need.  

An opportunity to transform the testing and treatment journey

Personalised Medicines target diseases, including cancers, according to a patient’s DNA, as opposed to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach typically seen with chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Treatment using Personalised Medicine involves the thorough analysis of a patient's genetic make-up to determine tailored treatments that would be most effective for the patient and their disease. This means patients with advanced diseases can be offered a lifeline, thanks to the DNA analysis, which have a much greater chance of prolonging a patient’s life and possible recovery.

While the shocking nature of these statistics should be received by the pharmaceutical and medical communities with the utmost seriousness, they should also be recognised as an urgent call to action to tackle these barriers to personalised medicines and radically improve the testing and treatment of patients, argues Diaceutics’ Susanne Munksted.

“Personalised Medicine brings a more promising future to the millions of patients undergoing cancer treatment,” said Susanne Munksted, Chief Precision Medicine Officer at Diaceutics. “Despite this, it is clear there are limitations which impact the effectiveness of treatment. This study therefore represents a call to action, requiring a multi-stakeholder approach across the medical and pharma community, combined with insights from real-world patient level data. Through this, we can better understand the steps needed to ensure patients are able to receive the right treatment at the right time.”

Susanne Munksted, Chief Precision Medicine Officer at Diaceutics

The study was carried out in conjunction with a broad stakeholder group across the Personalized Medicine Coalition. Further information on the study, titled “The Impact of Clinical Practice Gaps on the Implementation of Personalized Medicine in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer”, can be found here.

About Diaceutics

At Diaceutics we believe that every patient should have access to the right treatment at the right time. We provide the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with an end-to-end solution for the launch of precision medicine diagnostics enabled by DXRX - The Diagnostic Network®.

DXRX is the world's first diagnostic commercialisation platform for precision medicine, integrating multiple pipelines of real-world diagnostic testing data from a global network of laboratories.

Diaceutics' data capability is one of the three key value drivers it has integrated into its unique DXRX platform alongside its global Lab network and product suite tailored for Precision testing.

 About the Personalized Medicine Coalition

The Personalized Medicine Coalition, a 501(c)3 organization comprised of 14 distinct stakeholder groups within health care, promotes the understanding and adoption of Personalized Medicine concepts, services, and products to benefit patients and the health system.
For more information, please visit www.personalizedmedicinecoalition.org



About Diaceutics

At Diaceutics we believe that every patient should get the precision medicine they deserve. We are a data analytics and end-to-end services provider enabled by DXRX - the world’s first Network solution for the development and commercialization of precision medicine diagnostics. 

Diaceutics has worked on every precision medicine brought to market and provides services to 36 of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. We have built the world’s largest repository of diagnostic testing data with a growing network of 2500 labs in 51 countries.

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