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 … Continued

How Precision Medicine Turned Jesus’ Unique Tumor into an Operable One

This post originally appeared on Thriving, Boston Children’s Hospital’s pediatric health blog. On a hot, August day in a Boston park, Jesus Apolinaris Cruz cooled off with a water squirt gun fight with his mother and sister. As he nimbly ran and dodged their aim, he twisted around to sneak shots of water back in their … Continued

Treating Cancer by Location or Genetic Markers: Which is Better?

In the past, treating cancers involved classifying them primarily by the organ or tissue where they arose – like the skin, the lungs, the breast, or the colon. Today, it’s often possible to identify the genes and proteins responsible for a tumor’s growth, and, in some cases, to offer a drug treatment that specifically targets … Continued

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 … Continued

Attacking A Weak Point in Pancreatic Cancer’s Defense

In the fall of 2015, at the age of 44 – young for a person to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – Doron Broman was stunned to learn he had a large tumor on his pancreas that had metastasized to the liver. Facing only months to live, Broman would find himself in the right place … Continued

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 … Continued

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 … Continued

How Can Bioinformatics Help Advance Precision Cancer Care?

Scattered amongst the letters of genetic code in a tumor cell are telltale mutations and DNA alterations that spur its malignant activity. But there are billions of letters of code and each patient’s cancer is different, with its own particular genetic changes. These changes may dictate how it behaves, how aggressively the cancer progresses, and … Continued

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 … Continued

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, … Continued

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 … Continued

Finding the Best Targets for Precision Cancer Treatment

The inner world of a cancerous tumor is a place of intense rivalry, subversion, and aggression. Multiple subgroups of malignant cells – each with its own pattern of molecular features – vie with one another for nutrients, access to the blood supply, and room to grow and spread. This diversity, or “heterogeneity,” complicates efforts to … Continued

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 … Continued

Five Things You Should Know About Precision Medicine

When President Barack Obama rolled out his Precision Medicine Initiative, it included an increased funding request of $215 million in the 2016 federal budget. Precision medicine is changing the way cancer is studied and treated. Here are five important things to know about it. 1. Precision medicine can improve diagnosis and treatment  Physicians have long … Continued

Why the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative Is Good for Cancer Research

A boost in funding for research on genetic causes of cancer and “tailored” cancer treatments will be a major focus of the new Precision Medicine Initiative. President Barack Obama is requesting an increase of $215 million in the 2016 budget, to launch the effort “to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes … Continued

Precision Medicine and the Future of Cancer Treatment

Precision medicine is rapidly changing the way cancer is studied and treated today. With new information about genetic and molecular characteristics in tumors, doctors are finding more effective and less toxic ways to fight the disease. “Precision medicine is seeing the monster of cancer clearly for the first time in a way that we can … Continued

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 … Continued

What is Personalized Medicine?

By Richard Saltus 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 … Continued