Last month, we reached a monumental milestone in our mission to transform cancer care when we delivered our one millionth patient report, generated from our FoundationOne portfolio of comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) tests.
We are incredibly proud of this achievement because with every report issued from our tissue and blood-based tests, we’re delivering robust molecular information about a patient’s cancer, and contextualizing it to help clinicians make informed treatment decisions. These reports also enable biopharma partners to conduct research and bring new treatment options to market.
This milestone demonstrates just how rapidly cancer care has changed since our cancer genomic profiling tests became commercially available a decade ago. But cancer itself has a much longer history, and our understanding of it is fundamental to where we are today.
The first records of cancer, and humanity’s attempt to treat it, go back over 4,000 years. Yet it was only a century ago when Theodor Boveri proposed that cancer is caused by chromosomal derangements that prompt cells to divide uncontrollably1—or that cancer is a ‘‘disease of the genome.’’
Molecular biologists spent 70 years working to prove this concept by showing the existence of mutated cancer-causing genes.2, 3 Fast forward to 2003, the first full Human Genome was sequenced as part of the Human Genome Project and 2006 when The Cancer Genome Atlas started to systematically map the genomic changes associated with human cancers- incredible milestones in our understanding of cancer can arise as a disease of the genome.
Foundation Medicine was founded to democratize access to deep genomic information on cancer and bring it to patients, oncologists, and researchers globally.
Over the last decade, in collaboration with the oncology community, we’ve made meaningful progress toward this vision. What was once a tool available to only a small subset of patients is now standard of care in many disease areas. In 2021 alone, we sequenced more than 130,000 clinical patient samples using our commercially available tests. And, in the United States, 86 percent of patients who received a Foundation Medicine report via testing in the clinic were matched to a recommended therapy in their tumor type, a recommended therapy in another tumor type, or a clinical trial option.4
Still, we’ve really just scratched the surface. According to our research, in 2021, only about 30 percent of advanced cancer patients received comprehensive genomic profiling.5 And, we see so much opportunity to bring this technology to earlier stages of disease.
I have no doubt that in the future, every patient living with advanced cancer will receive genomic profiling of their tumor. But until that happens, our work isn’t done.
Over the last 10 years, these one million reports have guided critical treatment decisions, empowered access to clinical trials, and informed the development of new targeted therapies. As molecular profiling becomes an indispensable tool for cancer care and research, we know the next 10 years will bring even more breakthroughs and ultimately better care for every patient living with cancer.
1) Boveri, 2008: https://journals.biologists.com/jcs/article/121/Supplement_1/1/2844/Concerning-the-Origin-of-Malignant-Tumours-by
2) Stehelin et al., 1976:https://www.nature.com/articles/260170a0
3) Tabin et al., 1982: https://www.nature.com/articles/300143a0
4) Based on US clinical tests reported between September 1, 2020 and June 1, 2021. Data current as of July, 2021. Only one sample per patient was included. For patients who received multiple tests, the most recent test results was used.
5) Foundation Medicine Data on File