How Personalized Medicine Revolutionized Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment
Learn more about the advanced diagnostic tools and tailored therapies used for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma in Israel.
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma, constituting 3-5% of all childhood malignancies. A mutation in cells called rhabdomyoblasts, which normally develop into skeletal muscles, can result in the creation of RMS cells. The mutation causes these cells to multiply quickly and to go on living when healthy cells would normally die. The result is a mass (tumor) of malignant cells that can invade and destroy healthy body tissue.
Rhabdomyosarcoma usually forms in skeletal muscle tissue, or sometimes hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus. However, RMS has a predilection for the head and neck area, and tumours in this location account for 40% of all pediatric RMS cases. While rhabdomyosarcoma is more common in children and teens, it can also occur in adults, who are more likely to have faster-growing types of RMS and to have them in parts of the body that are harder to treat.
Since the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma can be complex, it is crucial to choose a medical center staffed with top-tier cancer specialists and medical experts with experience in a wide range of disciplines for treatment. A treatment plan for rhabdomyosarcoma patients must take the tumor’s type, size, and location into consideration, but can include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, and radiation therapy.
Benefits of Personalized Medicine for the Treatment of Rhabdomyosarcoma
Personalized medicine involves using advanced diagnostic tools to identify the unique genetic and molecular profile of each patient and apply tailored therapies accordingly. The last decade saw a giant leap forward in the genomic sequencing of malignancies, and leading medical institutions can now use the latest genomic diagnostic tools, alongside the more traditional rhabdomyosarcoma head and neck radiologic imaging tools, to identify the optimal therapies for a particular patient, ensuring that he or she receives the most effective treatment and avoids the negative effects of less suitable options.
The advantages of personalized medicine include:
- Preempting disease progression
- Tailoring treatment to a patient’s unique needs
- Prescribing more effective drugs
- Optimizing the risk-benefit ratio of therapies
- Avoiding the administration of drugs with predictable side effects
- Eliminating trial-and-error inefficiencies that undermine patient care.
At Sheba Medical Center in Israel, our Hemato-Oncology Division has a specialized interest in applying precision medicine for bone and soft tissue sarcomas. We use these advanced tools to aid in both diagnosing malignancies and tailoring a treatment plan for each individual patient – and for each stage of the disease.
Among the advanced genetic and molecular diagnostic tools used at Sheba are:
- Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH): A test that “maps” the genetic material in a person’s cells.
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): A laboratory technique used to make many copies of a specific piece of DNA to more easily identify certain changes in a gene or chromosome, which can help locate and diagnose a malignancy.
- Next-generation sequencing, such as gene panel sequencing (DNA and RNA), mutation profile characterization, methylation profile, and response markers for immunotherapies
Reasons to Seek This Treatment in Israel
- Quality of Care: Israeli physicians are exceptionally well-trained and often spend even more time on their medical education than American doctors. Also, you can be assured of high standards and strict safety regulations if you choose a hospital accredited by a trustworthy authority.
- Cost: In many countries, healthcare costs can be exorbitant. Without insurance, the costs of cancer treatment can be crippling. Prices are much lower in Israel, averaging 30-80% less than in the US, for example. That said, you’re not trading affordability for quality, since Israeli specialists, medical institutions, equipment, and procedures are among the most advanced in the world.
- Advanced Treatment: Medical institutions in Israel and the US often collaborate in advanced cancer research, developing new and effective treatments against the disease, yet Israel has fewer constraints than the US when it comes to adopting novel treatments. Israeli clinical trials still adhere to the highest standards of safety, but innovative treatments are generally made available to patients sooner than in the US
Where to Pursue Rhabdomyosarcoma Treatment in Israel?
Having discovered a few of the many advantages of choosing Israel for rhabdomyosarcoma treatment, where exactly should you pursue it? Sheba Medical Center is an exceptional choice. One of the 10 best hospitals in the world according to Newsweek magazine, Sheba is dedicated to providing patients with world-class medical care.
The advantages of receiving treatment at Sheba Medical Center include:
- Antiangiogenesis: Antiangiogenesis is a breakthrough treatment for metastatic sarcoma, which inhibits the development of blood vessels that feed metastases. Research trials showed that in 46% of the patients who received the therapy, the enlargement of 31% of the metastases was stopped.
- As a government institution, we have no hidden costs, and our fees are transparent. Although we offer advanced treatments that are available only in select medical institutions around the world, our prices are affordable.
- Sheba treats each patient as a unique individual, personalizing every therapy program.
- Sheba’s 360-degree care approach to every patient, which means that Sheba’s professionals will assist you with arranging medical record reviews, travel, visas, accommodations, and language interpretation as needed.
- Sheba has full accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the premier international healthcare accrediting group.
- Sheba has both advanced treatment and laboratory facilities. At Sheba, patients receive every aspect of their treatment in a single facility.
- Our physicians are actively involved in the latest research and application of progressive treatments.