For example, patients with advanced breast cancer are tested to determine if their tumours have a particular type of the HER2 gene, responsible for 20 per cent of cases. Skin cancer patients breast cancer genetic nice a particular type of melanoma may also be prescribed the life-prolonging drug Vemurafenib.
Scientists: Currently, all cancer drugs go through a process that ends with a big trial involving several thousand patients. Such trials are designed to look for small success rates across large population file picture Professor Ashworth's team will use the techniques to track cancers as they progress, mutate and develop resistance to drugs.
At the moment, tumour DNA has to be profile using an invasive biopsy.
But the scientists now hope to develop a blood test to identify DNA floating around the body from tumours instead. It may also start to reshape the way trials of cancer treatments are conducted.
Currently, all cancer drugs breast cancer genetic nice through a process that ends with a big trial involving several thousand patients. But they often lead to drugs being marketed that only benefit a minority of the patients who take them.
For example, only one in ten women given chemotherapy for breast cancer actually responds to the treatment.
In future, big trials could be replaced by smaller studies providing much more meaningful results. Each would recruit a few hundred patients whose genetic make-up is likely to suit the treatment being tested.
Certainly, the idea of developing old-fashioned chemotherapy is going out the window. It took a decade of work and around £2billion to produce the first draft of the human genome, or genetic code, in Share or comment on this article: Cancer will no longer be 'a death sentence': DNA-based treatment to transform lives within 10 years.