A brand new predictive medicine product has been launched by Myriad Genetics, Inc. It is called PANEXIA, and it is designed to help doctors to assess genes that would reveal a person's risk of developing pancreatic cancer, as well as some other related heredity cancers. This is excellent news for people who have ancestors or living family members who have had this form of cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect. Often, it is not diagnosed or identified by doctors until after the cancer has grown, and metastasized itself to other parts of the patient's body. By this time, the cancer is in a late stage. Treatment involves surgical removal of the cancerous tumor, as well as some of the surrounding tissue. However, this option is only available to patients who are still in the early stages of pancreatic cancer. In 2010, pancreatic cancer is estimated to have affected more than 43,000 adults in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer for adults.
There are many hereditary diseases that run in families, and pancreatic cancer is one of them. The PANEXIA product is designed to test the genes of a person who is known to have a family history of pancreatic cancer. The test looks at two specific genes, PALB2 and BRCA2. The PANEXIA test can detect the presence of a mutation on those genes. Those who have the mutations are at an 8.6% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than the rest of the population, who does not have the mutation. The purpose of the PANEXIA product is to help doctors identify a patient who is at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, so further tests and surveillance can be taken to detect the cancer while it is still at an early stage. Myriad Genetics has begun training personnel to use the PANEXIA product, and will start using patient samples for testing sometime in January 2011.