Complete mapping of the human genome earlier in this century paved the way for several cancer genome projects.

Technological advances in the form of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms and scientific breakthroughs in cancer have resulted a better understanding of the genomic landscape of cancer. So far through the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) alone, over 16,000 tumor genomes have been analyzed.

Due to these developments we have a better understanding of the genes that drive cancer in individual patients and the current data suggests that there are roughly a couple of hundred genes when mutated can drive cancer in individual patients.

What is also known is the fact that the cancer treatment works best when we know the specific gene(s) that drive cancer in an individual patient and can be targeted with specific drugs. This type of individualized, targeted treatment is not only more effective but also is less toxic.

Also, there are a number of well-characterized heritable genetic mutations that predispose into developing different types of cancer. For example 55-65% of women who inherit specific mutations in BRCA1 and approximately 45% of women who inherit harmful mutations in BRCA2 develop breast cancer.

At ITOS, we use the cutting edge NGS platform from Illumina to identify specific genetic mutations in known drivers of cancer.