Posted by Keerthana

Winning the war against Breast Cancer - A survivor's story

 6th October 2021

Amna Patnaik*, a 40-year-old freelance artist led a quiet and peaceful life in Patna, with her husband and son. Amna was regarded by those in her close circle as a person with an iron will. Hence, it came as no surprise when she remained mentally unfazed in the ordeal against her diagnosis of Breast Cancer. Amna's strong willpower and treatment paid off, for she was well on the road to recovery and was soon declared cancer-free.

Five years passed since Amna's encounter with cancer, but her peaceful days were short-lived, for her cancer had relapsed, and now had the potential to spread to other parts of her body. As her cancer grew more aggressive, Amna's body stopped responding to treatment, sowing the seed of doubt in her mind that her end was near. It slowly dawned on her that she might not be around to witness the major milestones in her son's life. Being the doting mother that she was, Amna had one wish - she wanted to see her little boy, all grown up and go to work.

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In order to help Amna realize her final wish, her doctor wanted to leave no stone unturned in treating her cancer. With that focus in mind, her doctor turned to Kyvor Genomics to use genomic testing and gain a better understanding of her tumor by analyzing & evaluating its genetic composition. The doctor sought out Kyvor's proprietary solution CANLYTx® - a molecular simulation technique that performs Whole Exome Sequencing. This is a conclusive technique that identifies genomic variations present in the entire functional part of a patient's gene pool. This information helps govern treatment decisions by targeting the genes that play a role in tumor progression. In simpler terms, it helps identify the right treatment protocol for every individual based on their unique genetic composition - personalized cancer treatment.

Without comprehensive genomic knowledge of the tumor profile, the treatment options for cancer remain generic. Therefore, the use of genomic profilers like CANLYTx® helps dispel the veil of uncertainty in patients & medical professionals by assisting them in making clear, defined medical decisions in charting the course of treatment. This process additionally helps save expenses incurred from the trial and error of generic treatment plans.

Traditionally, solid biopsy - an invasive technique that samples solid tissue directly from the tumor is used for genomic analysis. However, as Amna's case was that of a relapse, she did not possess sufficient tumor derived solid tissue which is required for genomic analysis. Hence, a relatively less painful and minimally invasive technique known as liquid biopsy was employed instead, which facilitates the sampling of cells and genetic material shed by a tumor into the patient's bloodstream. Therefore, all it took was a sample of Amna's blood for CANLYTx® to reconstruct her tumor's genomic profile.

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Amna's CANLYTx® results came up positive for a mutation in the ESR1 gene. The presence of this mutation implies that most mainstay treatment options may prove to be ineffective for Amna. To determine the best course of treatment, Amna's tumor profile was matched with existing clinical evidence that indicated that cancers with such mutations respond positively to a treatment combination of drugs (Fulvestrant and Palbociclib). Amna's treatment regime was altered to align with this newly uncovered information. When the right treatment course for her cancer was given, it was no surprise that Amna started to respond positively.

It has been a year since Amna has started the recommended treatment protocol for her cancer. When she visited her doctor for her annual checkup, she was informed that her cancer had not progressed. Amna's family was overjoyed on hearing the news, but no one was happier than Amna herself, who became teary-eyed when her son quietly handed something to her - his first paycheck.



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