Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Many significant advances have been made in the field of cancer over the years, and it’s hard to identify which is the most significant. Perhaps the most exciting in recent years is our ability to sequence entire genomes from individual cancer cells. I think this is going to lead to an entirely new perspective on cancer. One of the most important recent discoveries in the field of cancer research was the discovery of the drug Imatinib. This is a drug for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia. What it’s done is translated molecular biology findings in the laboratory into a treatment which makes massive differences for patients with this particular disease.
Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds From the medical genetics point of view, I think an enormous advance has been the identification of many locations in the genome where inherited alterations can increase an individual’s cancer risk. For people and families with an inherited cancer predisposition, we’ll be able to determine their risk of developing cancer with more accuracy. I believe leukemic cancer research is at the forefront of cancer research. It’s through leukaemia cancer research that we’ve developed the small molecule inhibitors and antibody mediated therapy. These has transcended across all cancers, and have resulted in improved patient outcome across all cancer sub-types. The main advance in radiation oncology in the past 5, 10 years is the technology improvement, in terms of hardware and software.
Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds This permits radiotherapy to be given very selectively to the tumour. This is the core of the advance in radiotherapy. We’ve gone from a time where it took us fifteen years and two billion pounds to sequence one individual human genome. Now we can do that in a manner of days, and for about 5,000 pounds. and what that means is that we can take a sample of their cancer, we can sequence it, and we start to identify what the right treatment for that particular individual patient, and start to give them their treatment, so that the right treatment is given to the right patient at the right time.
Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds Cancer will touch almost all of our lives at some point, and the potential of new treatments holds an excitement that is hard to ignore. But in order to understand where we’re going, we need to look at where we’ve come from, and where we are now. We’ll see how unlocking the science has enabled us to get to the stage where we can truly say that we are on the edge of a genomic revolution.