A new study from California’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging finds that cancer treatments should depend on the type of tumour

Cancers should be treated depending on the type of tumour they are, and not on where they are first found in the body, according to a ground-breaking new study.

Traditionally, cancers have been treated according to the part of the body they are diagnosed in, like the breast, lungs, or bowel. But a new study from California’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging analysed 33 cancer types and reclassified them into 28 molecular types, or ‘clusters’, based on the cell and genetic makeup of the cancers, and not where they originated.

Looking at data from more than 10,000 patients and the most common tumour types, the study found that almost two-thirds of cancer clusters shared similarities, despite being found in different parts of the body.  

By classifying cancers according to their genetic makeup, researchers believe more effective and targeted cancer treatments can be developed.  

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Dr Lee Schwartzberg, Executive Director of the West Cancer Center (WCC), a leading oncology research and treatment practice, and oncology scientific lead at George Clinical, says “This study could potentially shift the way we treat cancer. Targeted cancer therapies are becoming more and more effective, and research like this emphasises the need for improved immunotherapy cancer treatments”.

The Buck Institute analysis, the largest-ever cancer genomic study of its kind, supports the idea that immunotherapies could benefit various cancer types, as well the possibility of repurposing treatments used for other diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.

“Targeted cancer therapies are a key part of our oncology research program at 
WCC” says Dr Schwartzberg. “This study, and the ongoing work on immunotherapies, will make it easier for cancer patients to access the best and most effective new treatments in the future”.

George Clinical is a leading independent Asia-Pacific based clinical research organisation (CRO) with global capabilities differentiated by scientific leadership, innovation and extensive investigator networks. With staff operating in 15 countries,