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A clinical study to implement an innovative cancer care model in the UK, with health and economic benefits

Dates: December 2012 - March 2014
Funding: Technology Strategy Board
Principal Investigator
and Collaborators:
Dr Jenny Taylor, Dr Anna Schuh, Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Information: Sarah Wordsworth

Scientific knowledge of molecular markers in cancer tumours has led to the development of targeted biological therapies, such as oestrogen receptor testing which guides breast cancer treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin), which is indicated for patients with amplifications of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Despite such examples of genetic markers in tumour development and response to therapy, the provision of genetic marker tests in clinical practice has been slow. The emergence of next generation sequencing technologies has the potential to revolutionise clinical cancer care by enabling targeted sequencing which can test a range of genetic markers simultaneously and quickly. This study is using the Ion Torrent sequencing platform to help clinicians select appropriate treatments for cancer patients.

The health economic component is assessing the costs and benefits of the Ion Torrent technology compared with standard gene sequencing (Cobas platform). We are performing a micro-costing of the alternative sequencing methods and using clinical trial data in colorectal cancer, melanoma and leukemia to estimate the likely additional effectiveness of using Ion Torrent in terms of additional mutations detected.