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John Mendelsohn 2: Precision Medicine—Past, Present and Future

Sept. 02, 2015

Our understanding of the biologic characteristics and biochemical alterations in cancer, together with new technologies that enable rapid interrogation of molecular aberrations in an individual cancer at a reasonable cost, have changed cancer care. Precision/personalized cancer medicine involves determining the genetic and molecular abnormalities in a patient’s cancer and using this information to select treatment from hundreds of therapies developed over the past two decades that target these specific abnormalities. This approach can be paired with recently discovered therapies that enhance the patient’s immune response to their cancer. Further research is likely to lead to additional treatments that can disrupt the influence of molecules produced by nonmalignant cells in the microenvironment, surrounding and in some cases “feeding” the cancer. The result is a combination of approaches to the medical management of cancer that is creating a revolution in what science can bring to cancer patient care.