In August when I visited Dr. Slamon, who invented Herceptin at UCLA, one of his recommendations was a genomic test to find out future options.
Cancer damages DNA, which makes up genes. The genomic test is to find effective drugs or regimens for damaged individual DNA. In other words, it will find the personal regimens. Recently I have heard about such a test more and more.
The test I was recommended by Dr. Slamon was called Foundation One operated by Foundation Medicine in MA. According to the site, the successful rate of the test is 85%. In the rest, the test may not be able to find any matching drugs, or even if it finds some clinical drugs as suitable, you may not be qualified for the trial. Needless to say, without perfect drugs, which kill cancer cells 100%, the treatment is limited anyway even with the test. Yet, at least we can avoid wasting time and money for ineffective drugs, as well as nasty meaningless side-effects.
For me, the main purpose is to find out if Afinitor, the drug for Hormone + breast cancer, is effective or not though mine is not Hormone + but HER2+. The testing cost $5000-7000, but without insurance, it is adjustable depending on the income according to the site. Since my Kaiser insurance doesn’t cover the cost and I was told to ship the specimen by myself, I am asking the instruction of shipping.
Today I had a CT scan to evaluate the latest regimen, Abraxane and Herceptin. Perhaps it will take a week to receive the result, but if cancer is growing, I have to change the regimen again, so I should hurry up the testing.
Abraxane is the same chemical as Taxol, which lost the effectiveness already on me. My chance is slim but I pray for a good result!