Fruit flies & cancer

A UK based start-up is to use fruit flies as cancer avatars to help identify personalised treatments for patients with the disease.

Vivan Therapeutics will replicate the mutations found in a single patient’s tumour in 400,000 fruit fly embryos, which can then be used to test potential drugs and see which are the most effective at treating the cancer.

The easy manipulation of fruit fly genomes means that treatments can be identified for the exact genetic makeup of the cancer, rather than relying on one or two known mutations.

Wired magazine reported that the entire process, from sequencing to drug recommendation takes about six months.

This personalised approach has already been successful in extending the life of cancer patients in preliminary trials, and further clinical trials are ongoing.

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