60 Minute Episode on genomic sequencing


Hi - Wondering if anyone has seen the episode on 60 mins? If not, below is a link. It was kinda interesting and encouraging. Has anyone thought or discussed it with their oncologist? I did and this was his response (via email).

"My prediction would be that sequencing is unlikely to lead to a lot of targets for a disease like synovial sarcoma that is defined by a genetic change called a translocation rather than a series of mutations."

I know that SS is more a translocation of a mutated gene but thought it we could target and treat those genes in the blood stream may be worth a shot. Any thoughts or thoughts from your medical team?


Thank you!


I haven't seen the show so I can't comment on it. There is a Japanese team who has tried to target the fusion protein (product of the mutated gene) with small interfering RNA. They did some tests on mice that looked promising:


But that was 4 years ago and I haven't seen any follow-up on that. May be the technology is not quite ready yet or they decided it's not worth the investment? Who knows?

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle to find a cure for synovial sarcoma is that there are too few of us :-(


I saw it and am excited about the technology! I’ve been telling people for years that I think we will look back at the way we use chemo today and view it the same way we currently view bloodletting in the Middle Ages. A barbaric concept. To me the most logical way to fight cancer would be to use our body’s built in resources (our white blood cells) and train them to go after a specific type of deformed cell (our specific cancer). If we could get to a place that this training of the white blood cells (T-cells?) could be done quickly and efficiently, I think we would have our cure.


I just read the link you gave. There are 3 points he is trying to make:

1- If you know the mutation you can target it. For synovial sarcoma, we've known the mutation since the 90's. We're still waiting for the drug that will target it.

2- Use T-cells to attack the cancer. This is already being tried, with mixed results. So far, when it works it does not work forever. There is apparently still a lot of unknown about the immune system. Part of it may be actually helping the cancer.

3- Circulating tumor cells: this is also being developed for sarcoma. I've seen a few recent articles on the subject. One method is to use vimentin as a marker for sarcoma cells in the blood:


Another method is using size to detect the tumor cells:


And then apparently the translocation could be also used for detection:


It's not in the oncologist's toolbox yet though :-(


Elodie, that’s why you need to watch the 60 Minutes episode. That is what they are currently working on doing.


My guess it's fighting and attacking the mutated gene seems to be the most difficult with synovial sarcoma. Also, seems that it's behavior is not entirely understood. I did hear the immunotherapy treatment that is being done now isn't showing promising results with SS=(. Makes complete sense to me to use our own immune system. I'm not a candidate anyway because my immune system shape is not a match. I agree that this trial and error and nearly killing us with chemotherapy is certainly not the best approach or effective. I've gone through some brutal treatments (thank God I'm young and healthy) that worked for a few months but tumors always reappear in my lungs. Seems that like the 60 mins Doctor said, the cancer cells just move to avoid the chemo treatment and start building in different areas. I asked my doc a few more questions regarding it so let's see what his response is. Will be interesting and I'm glad that someone with the authority and financial status is helping to bring treatments up to speed.


I watched this the other night and it struck me as being the most accurate version of the truth out there. Chemo was torture. I believe the cure lies within our own immune system. Having battled this for 22 years, I’ve seen years go by without a reoccurrence and than bloom its back with a vengeance, treatment, and than it’s back into dormancy.

I was lucky enough to win the cancer treatment lottery and I’m currently in an immunotherapy trial at NIH.


A sequence of DNA in my T-cells was replaced with that from a rat’s, essentially genetically modifying my immune system. 46 Billion cells were grown and my immune system blown to shreds via chemo. The new cells were installed followed by IL2 to insure the replication of the cells in my body and the regeneration of my immune system. Because the T-cells are my own, the body does not reject them.

I’m happy to say that it is currently working. How long is yet to be determined. I’m patient 3, survivor number 1 with a 62% reduction in tumor size.

Similar immunotherapy trials splicing human gene sequences to T-cells have had mixed results. I’ve been told that the use of the Muroidea gene sequence out performs the human version in peetree dishes. Here’s to seeing what happens in humans.

I was fascinated be seeing the T-cells devour the cancer cell towards the end of the TV spot. My immune system is still weak after 6 months but I’ve never felt better.

Thank god for the Mavericks in the medical industry.


God bless you and keep up your faith.


I guess we will have to stay tuned and see how things develop. Thanks Beechreader! God bless you too and all of us fighting!!!!