Boston Business Journal Letter to the Editor: Cancer Patients Deserve to Know They Have Options

To the editor:

Michael Pellini, CEO of Foundation Medicine, was quoted in the Boston Business Journal recently saying, “we really just don’t see any comprehensive approach that’s competing with us in the market.” As the chairman and CEO of Caris Life Sciences, I think it is important to set the record straight — cancer patients deserve to know they have options.
Molecular profiling of cancer is changing the way oncologists treat patients and is ushering in a new era of personalized medicine. By identifying the key biomarkers that show an association with drug therapies, molecular profiling can assist oncologists in determining which drug(s) would most likely work for that specific cancer patient’s tumor. Equally important, profiling can also help identify drugs that are unlikely to have a clinical benefit for that patient. Biomarkers are found in a cell’s DNA, RNA and protein.

Caris Life Sciences is the only profiling service offering a comprehensive analysis of all relevant drug associations currently supported by strong medical evidence. Since 2006, our Caris Molecular Intelligence molecular profiling service has been the industry’s leading tumor profiling service, profiling the tumors of more than 60,000 cancer patients from 59 countries, having been ordered by 6,000 oncologists from around the world. Caris’ approach to profiling, which includes multiple types of tumor analysis, including DNA, offers significantly more clinical information to an oncologist looking for new options for their patient than a DNA platform alone. Our approach can analyze all of the 236 cancer genes included in the FMI report and many more. As a result, CMI can provide up to 51 potentially relevant FDA-approved drug associations. By comparison, FMI’s test can make no more than 19 drug associations. We are proud to offer the most clinically useful cancer- profiling service currently available to help oncologists and their patients find FDA-approved drugs that may benefit them.

Cancer patients who have exhausted standard of care, or who are battling particularly rare or aggressive cancers where no standard of care exists, deserve to know they have clinically useful options available to them. A DNA-only analysis, like that used by FMI, is simply not going to identify as many drug associations to help the patient in the clinic today. I would hope that Dr. Pellini isn’t willing to compromise the integrity of factual information available to cancer patients in return for temporary and false market positioning to serve his company’s financial interests.

David D. Halbert
Chairman and CEO
Caris Life Sciences