Westchester Brain Tumor Program Now Offers Molecular Testing To Identify Best Treatment Options for Brain Cancer Patients

January 18th, 2013 | Posted by harrisonedwards in News
Researcher and test tube

Molecular profiling is recommended for patients with recurrent, complex brain tumors such as glioblastoma multiforme

Patients being treated for complex brain tumors at the Westchester Brain Tumor Program now have the potentially life-extending option of cutting-edge testing that profiles individual tumors at the molecular level.

The molecular profiling identifies biomarkers specific to an individual patient’s tumor—including a tumor’s unique signature for DNA, cell surface receptors, and proteins—and pinpoints the best treatment options.

“By comparing a patient’s tumor’s information with data from published clinical studies by thousands of the world’s leading cancer researchers, molecular testing can help identify potentially effective drugs or drug combinations and, just as important, eliminate ineffective treatments for cancer patients,” says John Abrahams, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York and founder and director of the Westchester Brain Tumor Program. “This is a major step forward in our efforts to develop personalized cancer therapy based on the unique biomarkers found within a patient’s tumor.”

Biomarkers compared against clinical literature

Dr. Abrahams cites an example of a patient he was treating last year with a standard cancer-fighting drug called Avastin®. By using the molecular profiling offered by a company called Caris Life Sciences, Dr. Abrahams was able to submit data about his patient’s specific tumor to an extensive clinical literature review that matched potential drug therapies to the patient’s specific biomarker information.  As a result, another drug, Irinotecan, was identified and added to the patient’s therapy. According to Dr. Abrahams, “the new drug combination could help extend the patient’s life by three to six months.”

Dr. Abrahams recommends molecular profiling testing for patients with recurrent, complex brain tumors, especially those suffering from glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans.

Many biomarker therapies are approved by insurance companies. For further information, the public is invited to call Dr. Abrahams or Jan Strack, R.N., program coordinator, at 948-3008, or visit www.wbtp.org.

About the Westchester Brain Tumor Program

The Westchester Brain Tumor Program is a collaboration between four outstanding entities in cancer care, the Westchester Neuroscience Foundation, the Cancer Center at Northern Westchester Hospital, the Maria Fareri Children’sHospital, and Brain & Spine Surgeons of New York. It encompasses leading professionals in the areas of neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, and radiation oncology, combining their expertise to devise an individual treatment program for each patient.  Working together, these partners can offer the best brain tumor care possible. For more information, the public is invited to visit www.wbtp.org or call 914-948-3008.