Past research into personalised medicine

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Our milestones

Our scientists have made vital contributions to developing personalised medicine that could help us beat cancer. Below are a few of our most important discoveries.

2015 – Our researchers show that the more genetic mistakes an oesophageal tumour contains, the more aggressive it’s likely to be. They also show that drugs like cisplatin – the standard treatment for oesophageal cancer – were less likely to work when the tumour had lots of mistakes, which could help doctors to better tailor oesophageal cancer treatment.

2016 – Results from the International Cancer Genome Consortium show that oesophageal cancer can be classified into three main types, research that could help develop the first personalised medicine clinical trials for this hard-to-treat cancer.   

2004  – We highlight a way to spot aggressive cancers, showing that a gene called E2F3 could flag tumours that need more urgent treatment. This may allow doctors to diagnose the disease more accurately in the future and choose the best treatments.

2009 – Our researchers show that testing for a faulty version of a gene called MYCN helps doctors identify children with less aggressive forms of neuroblastoma, sparing them unnecessary treatments.

1970s – We carry out landmark studies showing that there are many different types of leukaemia. This ground-breaking work improves the way the disease is diagnosed and treated, helping doctors to choose the best treatment for patients.

2011 – Our researchers discover a genetic signature that can help doctors predict if a man’s prostate cancer is likely to be aggressive and need treating. This test could be an important step towards sparing some men unnecessary treatment.

2015 – Our landmark study shows that prostate cancer is five distinct diseases, a discovery that could help guide future treatment decisions made by doctors and potentially save lives.

2015 – Patients with pancreatic cancer could get the best drugs for their disease in the future, after we find that this cancer can be split into four unique types. This discovery laid the groundwork for funding the first programme of clinical trials testing personalised treatments for the disease.

2016 – A study we fund shows that a blood test to measure levels of a faulty version of a gene called p53 could give doctors a clearer picture of whether ovarian cancer is responding to treatment or not, helping get the right treatment to patients at the right time.

2017 – We launch a project we're helping to support that will transform the development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer. PRECISIONPanc aims to develop personalised treatments for pancreatic cancer, and make it easier and quicker for patients to join the right clinical trial for them. 

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