Leading pharmaceutical companies have developed new medications that purportedly shrink tumors through the targeting of an uncommon genetic anomaly called TRK fusion, in which two genes combine to stimulate the production of proteins that fuel cancer growth. TRK fusions are found in many cancers, both adult and pediatric, including brain, breast, lung, pancreatic and thyroid, and affect between 1,500 and 5,000 patients each year. However, therapeutics targeting these rare TRK fusions require advanced analyses that are available solely at academic medical centers. This provides a large opportunity for growth for the targeted therapies market, but also makes it difficult to find patients for clinical trials. To identify a patient that may be a suitable candidate for TRK fusion-targeted medications, hundreds of people may need to have their DNA assessed with costs hovering around multiple thousands of dollars per person. Leading pharmaceutical companies like Bayer plan to lobby medical societies, such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, to develop guidelines instructing doctors to specifically test for TRK fusions in patients with rare cancers. Source: Bloomberg

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