Targeted therapies to drive cancer care in India, says GlobalData

Precision medicine challenging one-size-fits-all approach

Lung cancer and breast cancer accounted for the highest disease burden in 2021. Photo Unsplash

As cancer treatment evolves globally, the regular one-size-fits-all approach is being challenged with precision medicine, a concept that involves the genetic screening of the patient to allow doctors to select an appropriate treatment for a better outcome. In this context, the recent alliances forged around the development of genomic profiling tests in India are expected to drive cancer care towards adopting appropriate targeted therapies, says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), lung cancer and breast cancer accounted for the highest disease burden in 2021. GlobalData’s Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center says the total number of incident cases of non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer in India is expected to increase at an average annual growth rate of 2.96% and 2.62%, respectively, from 2021 to 2025.

Neha Myneni, Pharma analyst at GlobalData, said, “Due to the lack of access to good infrastructure for cancer diagnosis and low awareness of the disease among the public, rising cancer burden could take a heavy toll on the country’s health system. Partnerships around genomics-based molecular profiling are expected to offer these life-saving diagnostic tools at affordable prices to the patients in need.”

Against this backdrop, AstraZeneca India collaborated with 4baseCare to support advanced-stage cancer patients with targeted therapy options using affordable genomic solutions. AstraZeneca markets its immunotherapy molecule, durvalumab (Imfinzi) for the treatment of patients with stage III NSCLC, and metastatic urothelial carcinoma indications. The company can leverage this partnership to develop a complementary diagnostic tool for Imfinzi patients to improve the drug’s uptake and thereby create a niche market for itself.

Earlier, India-based genetic testing company GenepoweRx collaborated with (a cancer care management platform) to provide genomic tests for cancer patients at affordable prices. A similar partnership occurred between C2i Genomics and Karkinos Healthcare Partner to develop India’s first whole-genome sequencing minimal residual test. This test enables physicians to detect traces of cancer, ensuring early intervention and better treatment outcomes.

Historically, tests involved in genomic profiling were imported from foreign countries, which are ultimately expensive. Strategic partnerships like these are expected to improve the affordability of such potential diagnostic tools, and thereby increase the chances of identifying optimal treatment options for improved clinical outcomes.

Myneni concludes: “The concept of genomic profiling is still in the nascent stage of application in India. Moreover, awareness of this concept and its potential benefits is also very low among the public. Pharmaceutical companies can run awareness campaigns to educate patients about the benefits of undergoing genomic-based molecular profiling and introduce tools to locate the doctor’s offices that offer these tests to support their uptake.”


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