India’s Swagene Launched Personalized Medicine for Children with Blood Cancer
Swagene– the youngest molecular diagnosticians has brought forward the personalized medicine as the latest weapon of modern healthcare in India.
The Chennai-based, award-winning laboratory, Swagene’s specialty molecular laboratory is the first and the only centre in India to launch some of the advanced biomarkers for the benefit of children suffering from leukemia.
Blood cancers, or leukemia, are a complicated disease because of a large number of ‘driver’ genetic mutations seen in the disease. These mutations decide the severity, survival and risk of relapse in the patients. Identification of the mutation in the patients not only detects the disease and determines its development but also plays a crucial role to provide targeted treatment protocols.
“When a patient is accurately stratified, giving him/her targeted treatment can vastly improve success rates. For the first time in India, Swagene is launching such a diagnostic panel that can help many children, who are commonly affected by leukemia”, explained Dr. Vani, Swagene’s co-founder.
The mutations or biomarkers can be either favorable (good) or poor (bad) depending on how they affect cancer. The bad markers, such as IKAROS or IKZF1 mutations, are important in the identification of the patients at a risk of treatment failure and accordingly, stronger or modified therapy can be given to prevent relapse.
Dr. Vani further said, “In this case, there is also a silver lining. There is a good marker (ERG mutation), that is a hero because it has the power to overcome the villain IKZF1. If the hero mutation is present even in the presence of the other the patient will fare a lot better”.
Therefore, those patients who carry both good and bad biomarkers can still be classified under favorable prognosis. A lot of scientific evidence shows that tailoring the treatment to suit these patients using currently available drugs is greatly beneficial in improving survival.
Identification of biomarkers is particularly helpful in deciding which patients may need bone marrow transplantation, the mainstay of leukemia therapy. This is always a very stressful phase for the patient because the identification of a matching donor take a long time and it is also too expensive even for the insured class.
Blood Cancer or Leukemia are cancer of blood cells in the bone marrow. The characteristic symptoms of the disease is swollen lymph nodes, bleeding and bruising easily, getting infections easily, weight loss, pain in joints. The most common treatment given for leukemia is chemotherapy. In India, every year numerous cases of leukemia arise including large number of children, its success rates in India are still pretty dismal.
Modern molecular tools enable us to better diagnose the disease, the first and the critical step of the treatment for improved survival and to prevent relapse. The advanced molecular tests offered by Swagene will benefit the children suffering from blood cancer.
Swagene is the first and only lab in India that offers IKAROS (IKZF1) and ERG deletion tests for leukemia patients. Being sub-microscopic mutations, these can be detected only by molecular diagnosis and not by conventional methods. The lab being a specialized molecular diagnostic centre founded by a scientist and a doctor is also able to quickly report test results with detailed interpretation. It is expected that these two tests, which can also be ordered as a panel, will vastly improve the oncologist’s and hematologist’s armamentarium in fighting cancer successfully.
Featured Image: Swagene Banner (Credit: Swagene)