Today's Twitter Chat with Dr. Richard Besser from ABC on the topic of Breast Cancer touched on the need for mammogram testing and the need for patient education. The discussion also took a turn to BRCA testing, as well as genetic testing. One area that the Center for Individualized Medicine focuses on is understanding why standard chemotherapy will eradicate breast cancer in some women but fail to do so in others. That is where the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study comes in. BEAUTY is being led by Judy Boughey, M.D., a Mayo Clinic breast surgeon and Matthew Goetz, M.D., a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic.
The long-term goal is to enable individualized treatment for each woman with breast cancer by using the genetic information found in blood samples and tumor biopsies to predict the most effective therapies.
BEAUTY combines three components of cancer care and research:
- Chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy). Treating the tumor with chemotherapy prior to surgery allows the patient and physician to evaluate the response of the tumor to the chemotherapy delivered. The response information guides further management decisions. This is considered a standard of care for most breast cancers in which the oncologist would recommend chemotherapy.
- Genomic sequencing. Genomics tools analyze blood cells and tumor cells, identifying genetic markers and vulnerabilities that may be targeted with drugs.
- Creation of mouse avatars. Xenografting patients' breast cancers in laboratory mice allows for the immortalization of the breast cancer. The goal is to use patients' living breast cancer tissue to test the effectiveness of new drugs without exposing patients to the side effects of investigational drugs.