Last week, the FDA approved a first-of-its-kind cancer gene profiling test for patients with advanced stage or highly metastasized cancers, according to the Associated Press.
Along with the FDA’s approval of the technology, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed covering the tests. Many insurers are wary of covering genetic testing because of the current limits in which it can be ineffective if utilized incorrectly, supposedly wasting time and money.
Currently, patients may get tested for individual genes if a drug is available to target those mutations. It’s a hit-and-miss approach that sometimes means multiple biopsies and wasted time. In lung cancer alone, for example, about half a dozen genes can be checked with individual tests to see if a particular drug is a good match.
FoundationOne CDx, the new technology by Foundation Medicine, is able to survey any solid tumor for 324 genes as well as predict specific treatments’ success based on the identified mutations. Testing for so many genes at once opens the door to many people who otherwise, through time or cost, may have been barred out of genetic profiling.
Lung cancer patients will especially benefit from the new technology. Most lung tumors are not found until they have advanced, so testing will be able to more quickly target specific mutations and determine what treatments will be most effective.
You can read more about FoundationOne CDx here.