The Value of Personalized Medicine in OncologyLetter to Our Readers
Personalized Medicine in Oncology (PMO) organizes the vastly complex forces of personalized medicine into an approachable model of cancer care:
- Identifying the genetic mutations and biological derangements that drive tumors
- Translating genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics into real-world clinical strategies
- Anticipating payers’ increasing demands for prior authorization of biological therapy
- Interviewing healthcare visionaries in the medical, managed care, and policy sectors
- Assessing the biological pipeline and its impact on transforming survival expectations
In short, PMO is the practicing oncologists’ survival guide for translating targeted, personalized cancer care from clinical trials to clinical practice. Our goal is to bring clarity to providers on making the transition from conventional to personalized cancer care. The gratifying potential of personalized medicine is only attainable if it is understood by providers. With many new therapies being so rapidly developed, it is challenging for practicing oncologists to keep pace and to discern the true, clinically relevant advances within the field. We thank our readers and supporters because, as a community, we sustain the momentum of personalized cancer care, making it possible to sit back every now and then to take stock of the impact that novel therapies are having on the lives of our patients. We have come a long way in just a few short years, but there are many hurdles yet to overcome, and PMO will continue to serve as our guide to optimizing personalized medical care within our practices.
It is our sincere wish that this journal helps you achieve a new level in providing personalized care to your patients.
Greg Kalemkerian, MD
University of Michigan
PMO Board Member
On January 9, 2020, the FDA approved avapritinib (Ayvakit; Blueprint Medicines), a kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of adult patients with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) harboring platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) exon 18 mutations, including PDGFRA D842V mutations.
In my medical oncology practice at Johns Hopkins, I see approximately 4 patients with nonmetastatic NSCLC per week. Most of these patients are referrals from either pulmonary medicine or thoracic surgery. A patient with early stage disease initially sees a pulmonologist for diagnosis and may then be referred to a thoracic surgeon. The thoracic surgeon may refer the patient to us in medical oncology if there is an indication to enroll the patient in a clinical trial or for systemic therapy. In a community oncology practice, patients tend to go to surgery first and are then referred to the medical oncologist for adjuvant chemotherapy. In academic centers, it is more common for patients to be seen in a multidisciplinary setting.