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GENOMIC SEQUENCING

Bryce Olson was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 prostate cancer. When the standard of care didn’t work, Bryce turned to genomic sequencing which allowed his doctors to identify specific molecular drivers of his disease and identify specific treatments and clinical trials that were a better fit for his specific cancer.

“The driver of my cancer was hidden in my DNA. I asked my doctors to ‘Sequence Me.’ The insights from genomic sequencing opened new doors and saved my life. Fight cancer differently with data.”

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Q&A

Read these frequently asked questions, download the battle card and build confidence to understand the science, open new doors, and overcome objections or pushback. Be empowered and get more personalized care.

Q. What do you mean by “Sequence Me?”

‘Sequence Me’ is a call to action and a new movement. All people suffering from cancer deserve new insights into what is driving their disease. To get that, we need to demand genomic sequencing from our medical teams in order to understand those molecular drivers that are hidden in the DNA of our tumors. The insights from genomic sequencing can open new doors for treatment and extend your life. At the very least, it will empower

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you with more data and insights and help you understand your cancer better.

In the future it is expected that many more doctors will eventually offer this and many more patients will get personalized diagnostics and medicine. Why? Because the advances and affordability in new solutions like this driven by science and technology innovation will make it embarrassing for healthcare providers to not offer it. But today is still early days. One great way to accelerate the adoption of new innovation is through greater education, awareness building, and forming community. Sequenceme.org is going to do that. We want to bring ‘strength in numbers’ to new innovation like this. We need to accelerate this and YOU have the power to demand it. The supply side that offers these services will respond when we as patients demand it. So let’s collectively wake up and demand “Sequence Me!”

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Q. What is genomic sequencing?

The genome is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism. The human genome is made up of 20,000 genes and more than 3 billion base pairs of the genetic letters known as DNA building blocks (A, T, C, Gs). A genome sequence is a specific order of those DNA building blocks (A, T, C, Gs) and ‘sequencing’ is a critical first step to understanding it and figuring out the order of those DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—that make up who you are.

Q. What is genomic sequencing for cancer?

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes in DNA that control the way cells function, especially how they grow and divide. These changes can be inherited, but most arise randomly during a person’s lifetime, either as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or from exposure to DNA-damaging carcinogens. These are referred to as “somatic” mutations or “acquired” mutations that are different from ‘germline’ or inherited changes.

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Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of these genetic changes, and tumor DNA sequencing—sometimes called genetic profiling or genetic testing—is a test to identify these unique DNA changes.

Knowledge of the genetic alterations in your cancer can help determine a treatment plan. Some treatments—particularly, some targeted therapies—are effective for people whose cancer cells have specific genetic alterations that cause the cells to grow out of control (these are sometimes called “driver” mutations).

For example, mutations in the EGFR gene that make cells divide rapidly are found in some people’s lung cancer cells. A patient whose lung cancer cells harbor an EGFR mutation may respond to treatment with drugs called EGFR inhibitors. Clinical tumor DNA sequencing can reveal whether a patient’s lung tumor has an EGFR mutation.

Tumor DNA sequencing is at the crux of precision medicine: care tailored to the molecular characteristics of each patient’s disease.

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Q. Who is eligible to get “sequenced”?

Anybody with cancer. For patients with hematologic malignancies (blood cancers) and soft tissue sarcomas, sequencing can be used early at diagnosis, for prognostication, and to guide overall clinical management. Folks with solid tumors (i.e. prostate, breast, lung, pancreatic, etc) become eligible when they have more advanced disease – and they should absolutely demand it when they become stage III/IV. Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of advanced cancer patients today receive no genomic testing — and are often relegated to highly toxic and ineffective therapies. Let’s change that!

Q. Who offers genomic sequencing / tumor DNA sequencing?

Many academic cancer centers across the U.S. offer this and you just need to ask your medical oncologist for it. For example, Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC offers the FDA approved MSK-IMPACT test. There are also many commercial diagnostic testing companies that offer amazingly informative tests, including Foundation Medicine, Ambry Genetics, Tempus, Perthera, and Caris Life Sciences among others. There are lots of options and your doctor may have a preferred provider for this, so just ask.

Q. Where do you get this done?

Demand it first from your doctor. Your doctor will then likely coordinate with the pathology department to get a tumor sample from you (i.e through previous biopsy or surgically removed sample that is sitting preserved in a lab), or possibly through new blood draw. The doctor will then have those samples send over to one of the places above. They will also work with your health insurance provider on coverage / reimbursement for the diagnostic test.

Disclaimer: SequenceMe.org provides this information as a service. This information and material is strictly for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, is not intended to take the place of medical professionals, or the recommendations of your healthcare team for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of medical issues. We strongly suggest consulting your healthcare team if you have questions about your specific care.

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07
Dec 2018

Genomic Sequencing: Precision data to better fight advanced cancer

Bryce Olson was recently featured on KATU Channel 2 News in Portland, Oregon. Watch Bryce’s story and learn how gene testing helped Bryce. “The message I just really want to deliver is: demand sequencing. Demand genomic sequencing.”

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18
Nov 2018

From standard to personalised cancer care

The walls of Foundation Medicine’s lounge are filled with photographs of patients who have benefited from the power of genomic profiling to alter the course…

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31
Oct 2018

Precision medicine means nobody is just ‘average’

The rise in precision medicine, fueled by next-generation sequencing tests and increasingly by liquid biopsy as well, has given rise to treatments targeted not to…

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05
Apr 2018

Raising Awareness About Precision Medicine. ‘Sequence Me’

Bryce Olson orchestrated his own treatment by assembling a team of scientists, requesting to have his genome sequenced and seeking out targeted therapies. READ this informative…

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