Gene sequencing shows promise in fighting against cancer

Updated 2017-04-06 16:30:41 CGTN

In 2016, the U.S. company “Thermo Fisher Scientific” teamed up with West China Hospital in China's Sichuan Province to form a joint research platform for “Precision Medicine.”

In four months, Shi Junmin's life went from total devastation to hopeful.

Last December, she was told she had late stage lung cancer. Doctors first suggested she go through chemotherapy, but then offered her a chance to take part in a new gene sequencing medical trial.

Shi underwent targeted cancer therapy medicine that is particularly well suited to treating her cancer. Now, her lung tumor has shrunk by more than half its size.

“I was very pleased, after two months of taking the medication, the CT scan showed the tumor getting smaller, I was so happy,” Shi said.

Doctors traditionally observe changes in the shape and size of cancer cells, and use gene sequencing technology to analyze a cancer patient's DNA in order to identify specific areas of interest and concern.

“Different DNA sequences lead to different reactions to the same treatment. According to the DNA sequence, doctors prescribe prescription and treatment method for individuals,” said Ye Feng, deputy professor of West China Hospital, Sichuan University.

In 2013, scientists conducted new research on 938 lung cancer patients. They discovered that patients who receive targeted cancer therapy live around one year longer than patients who don't.

Three years later, the U.S. company, Thermo Fisher Scientific, teamed up with West China Hospital in China's Sichuan Province to form a joint research platform for what they call, “Precision Medicine.”

Doctors taking part in the project use gene sequencing analysis to provide Chinese cancer patients with better care. Medical researchers from China and the U.S. have been collaborating to develop state-of-the-art gene sequencing techniques to cure cancer.

“The laboratory's establishment promotes the development of precision medicine. It has helped build a library of biological samples and set the groundwork for a second-generation gene-sequencing project. The laboratory in Chengdu is the only complete production line pathology lab in the world. It will help benefit pathology research in China,” said Bu Hong, vice president of Sichuan University.

The use of precision medicine, digital pathology, sample management, and cloud technology at West China Hospital's pathology lab has made it a leading global molecular diagnosis center. The lab is going to transform the way pathology is done in China.

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