Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid
Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid, Head, Laboratory Genetics, UHN, has been exploring if blood can predict response to cancer treatment in lung cancer patients since 2016. (Photo: TPMCF)​

What if your blood could predict your response to cancer treatment?

Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid, Head, Laboratory Genetics, UHN, has been exploring how that question applies to lung cancer patients since 2016.

The results of her study, co-led by Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao, Senior Scientist, and Dr. Tracy Stockley, Associate Director, Laboratory Genetics with the Princess Margaret, used blood to predict the presence of a mutation in tissue to optimize treatment.

"We've been able to optimize and validate a simple blood test, and now implement it clinically," says Dr. Kamel-Reid. "We believe we are the first lab in Canada to offer this to our patients."

Samples were studied at laboratories across the country, including Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

"Tumours shed cells and those cells release DNA, and we are looking for that DNA," says Dr. Kamel-Reid. "It's at very low levels, so you have to have technology that can detect it very sensitively."

As of October 2017, this liquid biopsy test is being offered to patients across Ontario. Dr. Kamel-Reid says the same non-invasive methodology could also be used to test for mutations in other cancers.

PMCP Magazine 

The “Transformers” magazine by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation focuses on how the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is adopting new methods, including the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence, to deliver precision medicine and transform cancer care.

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