Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy for Cancer: What to Know

Precision medicine and immunotherapy are changing the landscape of cancer treatment. The aim of precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, is to match treatments to individual patients taking into account their genetic makeup, medical history, test results, and other distinctive characteristics. Unlike precision medicine, immunotherapy is a particular form of treatment, aimed at manipulating the patient’s … Read more

MATCHing Precision Medicine to All Kids With Cancer

This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A multi-center clinical trial is now offering nationwide genetic profiling services to pediatric and young adult cancer patients across the U.S. The goal is to identify gene mutations that can be individually matched with targeted drugs. “This is the first-ever nationwide precision medicine clinical trial for … Read more

What To Know About Precision Cancer Medicine [Infographic]

Precision cancer medicine is an evolving approach to cancer care that personalizes treatment based on each patient’s unique genetic mutations. Since 2011, Dana-Farber has used its Profile research project, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, to gather adult and pediatric patients’ tumor tissues and detect genetic alterations that may hold … Read more

Experts Forecast Cancer Research and Treatment Advances in 2017

This post originally appeared on Cancer Research Catalyst, the official blog of the American Association for Cancer Research. It was originally published Jan. 10, 2017. By Srivani Ravoori, PhD As we step into 2017, a big question looming in the minds of all stakeholders in the cancer research arena is: What is the future of … Read more

How Precision Cancer Care Saved a Life

Ronaldo de Oliveira was close to death. The 33-year-old father of two young children had been diagnosed with myeloid sarcoma, a rare form of leukemia that worsened despite treatment with six different chemotherapy regimens. His wife pleaded with his oncologist, Richard Stone, MD, director of the Adult Leukemia Program at Dana-Farber, to find something else … Read more

In Precision Medicine, Pioneering Young Patient Teaches Veteran Doctor

Allison Schablein seems an unlikely candidate to teach medicine to Mark Kieran. She’s an 8–year-old New Hampshire second grader who loves basketball, hip hop, acrobatic dancing and jewelry. He’s a pediatric neuro-oncologist with a PhD in molecular biology, not to mention decades of clinical and research experience. But teach Kieran, Allison does. In December 2012, … Read more

What A Cancer Cure ‘Moon Shot’ Might Look Like

This post originally appeared on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog. By Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD President Obama’s call for a new national effort against cancer – a “moon shot” – comes at a most opportune time. Cancer research has advanced significantly and now genomic analysis of individuals’ tumors can reveal the specific DNA changes that drive cancer … Read more

The Latest in Precision Medicine and Lung Cancer

Even before President Barack Obama declared it a national initiative, precision medicine has helped bring more effective treatment to patients with many types of cancer. One disease that has benefited from these treatments is lung cancer, where targeted therapies have significantly improved outcomes for patients. “When we find we have drugs targeted for a specific … Read more

Precision Medicine for Lung Cancer Marks Tenth Anniversary

Ten years ago researchers at Dana-Farber and in Japan published a study showing that lung cancer patients whose tumors had a malfunctioning version of a protein called Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) responded dramatically to a drug that specifically targets the EGFR protein. The findings launched the era of precision medicine for lung cancer, transforming … Read more

What is Personalized Medicine?

Physicians have long recognized that the same disease can behave differently from one patient to another, and that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.

In cancer, chemotherapy might dramatically shrink one lung tumor but prove ineffective against the same type of tumor in a different patient – even though tissue samples look identical under the microscope. Side effects and appropriate dosage may vary from patient to patient as well.

The goal of personalized medicine is to match a treatment to the unique characteristics of an individual patient: his or her personal and family medical history, age, body size, and other physical characteristics, and medical test results. But fundamentally, it is the DNA blueprint within cells that strongly influences a person’s risks of disease, how illnesses play out, which drugs are likely to be most effective and with the fewest side effects. This is where the newest phase of personalized medicine is heading.

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