UZH Tumor Profiler advances personalized cancer treatments

Zurich – The Tumor Profiler project of the University of Zurich (UZH) allows tumor cells to be analyzed with a degree of precision never seen before. This individual tumor profiling has already helped a third of the cancer patients in a study, causing their tumors to shrink.

The University of Zurich (UZH) has announced the results of its Tumor Profiler project in a press release. In a study carried out in 2021, the cancers of each individual patient were analyzed right down to the cellular and molecular level. This information was used to create individual tumor profiles and personally tailored therapy recommendations. The results represent an important step along the road toward personalized cancer treatment.

According to a research team at UZH, University Hospital of Basel and the ETH Zurich, tumors shrank in about one third of patients who had exhausted all other options in a study focusing on skin cancer. In more than half of the participants, prescribing an individually tailored mix of drugs based on their tumor profiler analysis meant tumor growth could at least be stabilized. Melanoma is the most malignant form of all skin cancers and the fifth most common cancer in Switzerland. About 3,000 men and women are diagnosed with the condition every year.

Around 100 clinicians and researchers were involved in the Tumor Profiler project. They joined forces in seven specialized laboratories and were led by Andreas Wicki. The study started with 240 patients suffering from metastatic melanoma, metastatic ovarian cancer and acute myeloid leukemia. The interdisciplinary results were compiled, with data made available to treating oncologists promptly on a tumor board.

According to the UZH, the vast amounts of data obtained help to improve precision medicine tailored to the patient. This approach is a significant milestone for data-driven medicine. The long-term goal of using big data in oncology is reportedly to create the molecular profiles of cancer patients and derive the perfect therapy.