The genomic revolution has boosted the development of novel cancer therapeutics targeting critical oncogenic signaling molecules. The therapeutic agents often inactivate protein kinases resulting in growth arrest and death of cancer cells. However, clinical benefit is limited to subpopulations of cancer patients. Personalized cancer medicine seeks to identify the genetic factors (biomarkers) that influence drug sensitivity. The genetic characterization of tumors will be instrumental for the individualization of treatments and for successful patient outcome and minimization of drug toxicity.
In the present project, we developed standardized diagnostic procedures that allow the detection of genetic biomarkers that can predict clinical drug response in cancer patients. The clinical relevance and the predictive value of the biomarkers have been partially validated in a retrospective clinical study focusing on breast cancer. The work required an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration between clinics, diagnostic centers and universities in Lower Austria, Tyrol, and Vienna. Genetic testing of cancer patients prior to therapy will increase the drug efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of clinical treatments in cancer.
The project was funded by the Niederösterreichische Forschungs- und Bildungsges.m.b.H. (NFB).