Technology At the Gustave Roussy Anti-Cancer Institute in Villejuif, a clinical trial to adapt treatments to each tumor

At the Gustave Roussy Anti-Cancer Institute in Villejuif, a clinical trial to adapt treatments to each tumor

This is the question to which all doctors confronted with their patient’s cancer would dream of having the answer: how to know in advance if a drug will work against his tumor? On the occasion of World Cancer Day on Friday February 4, the laboratories of the Gustave Roussy Anti-Cancer Institute, in Villejuif, opened their doors to franceinfo. There, the researchers try to identify for each patient the treatment that will be best suited to his tumour. A clinical trial has just started.

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Because today, to treat cancer patients, doctors grope their way. The different drugs and treatments available are tested on patients one by one. “Sometimes we test a molecule and we realize that it does not work at all and we move on to the next one”, explains Fanny Jaulin, who is leading this clinical trial. Time is therefore lost, as well as the chances of survival.

A clinical trial to adapt treatments to each tumor: the report by Solenne Le Hen at the Gustave Roussy Anti-Cancer Institute in Villejuif

to listen

The idea is therefore to test several drugs at the same time, not directly on the patient, but in the laboratory, after taking a piece of tumor from the patient. Then, in his laboratory, Jérôme Cartry takes care of the rest: he places the cells in wells to recreate dozens of mini-tumors which, visibly, look like water droplets.

“We are testing 25 drugs and we will be able to analyze that afterwards using small software to see which drugs are really the most effective.”

Jerome Cartry

at franceinfo

25 drugs tested at the same time on these mini tumours… “This allows us, points out Fanny Jaulin, to interrogate a very large panel of anticancer drugs and see which one might work for that patient, knowing that each patient’s tumor is unique. And in 80% of cases, we find at least one effective drug.”

And it costs nothing: researchers also allow themselves to test drugs in the laboratory that doctors would not have thought of right away. This clinical trial currently concerns patients for whom the successive conventional drugs do not or no longer have an effect. Eventually, the researchers hope to be able to initiate this personalization of treatments much earlier, perhaps as soon as the cancer is diagnosed.

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