The FNAB’s mission is to foster, promote and fund scientific research to enable individualised prognostic evaluation, and develop personalised anti-cancer therapeutics.
Targeted treatments for each patient
Traditionally, treatment choices for the majority of cancer patients have been guided by the results of large-scale clinical studies, identifying the most efficient treatments for a maximum of patients. Treatment choices for an individual patient have typically been based on tumour site, histology, size and disease extent. This approach limits the outcomes for some tumours and does not account for possible effects of tumour evolution over time, nor the imprint of prior therapies in progressing or relapsing neoplasms.
Over the last 30 years, accumulating cellular and molecular biology data have allowed us to better understand the sensitivity and resistance mechanisms of tumour cells to anticancer treatments. While the boom over the last decade in targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors has created options for personalised treatment for some mainstream cancer types, for infrequent tumour types this scientific knowledge remains poorly exploited.
Each patient, tumour, and their interaction, are unique. Each disease tells its own story, and understanding the polymorphous nature of the disease via its biological and evolutive characteristics is essential. The aim of individualised therapeutics is to implement the optimal therapeutic choice adapted to each patient’s individual case using genomic, epigenetic, biological and histological data to identify specificities of the patient’s tumour biology and clinical data. This involves a shift of the research focus from drug and technology development to patient and tumour phenotype.
Achieving our objectives
Optimising available biological data
Collaborative efforts have resulted in large networks of tumour biobanks becoming available to the scientific community. However despite the large potential of this research material, important clinical information is often not available for oncologists to optimally exploit the data documented in tumour banks, such as the natural history of the disease, its evolution under a given treatment and the links between biopsies stored in paraffin and in biobanks. Furthermore, such biobanks and networks are typically devoted to the most prevalent cancers.
Concrete applications for phenotypic profiles
Many available tests allow identification of specific phenotypic characteristics which are known therapeutic determinants. Correlating these results with the natural history and evolution of treated patients harbouring such characteristics, will take us a step closer to truly individualised therapeutics for future patients.
Creating research networks and connections
By publishing results and communicating information to teams directly implicated in personalised therapies, the FNAB contributes to developing translational medicine cooperative networks which can assist physicians worldwide, and to improving the flow and structure of information to obtain positive treatment outcomes. Major advances have been seen with oncologists linking tumour biology research to their routine patient treatment. The FNAB aims to support new translational oncologists in centres of excellence to promote personalised therapeutics for patients with rare oncologic entities or clinically relevant sub-entities among prevalent neoplasms.