October 2016, Vol. 5, No. 8

Personalized Medicine Impacts All Phases of Care from Clinical Trial Design to Palliative Care

Dear Colleague, Personalizing medicine has had a tremendous impact on the way we treat illness in this country. The ability to glean information from a patient’s genetic makeup that helps us to successfully treat that patient has forever changed how we view disease. Our increased knowledge about genetic implications of [ Read More ]

Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO

Letter to Our Readers

A New Approach to Cell Culturing

An Interview with James Lim, PhD, of Xcell Biosciences

The drug discovery process has long been characterized by very low success rates in moving compounds from early-stage studies to clinically proven therapeutics. A confounding factor in the process is the inability to conduct high-throughput screening in an environment that truly mirrors human physiology. These early-stage tests are typically performed [ Read More ]

Interview with the Innovators

Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH): A Precision Medicine Signal-Seeking Trial in Oncology

The description of molecular drivers in diverse cancers, the availability of drugs targeted to these drivers, and the advent of affordable, massively parallel sequencing technology (next-generation sequencing [NGS]) has spurred the oncologic community to develop new paradigms for therapeutic development based on molecular features rather than conventional pathology and a [ Read More ]

Barbara A. Conley, MD; Keith T. Flaherty, MD

Clinical Trials

Risk and Management Updates for Inherited Colorectal Cancer

Advances in technology and decreased testing costs have led to a rise in the number of genes associated with inherited cancer risk for which testing is clinically available. At the same time, national practice guidelines have been revised to reflect the changes in expanded test offerings. One disease site that [ Read More ]

Cristi Radford, MS, CGC; Courtney Lewis, MS, CGC

Genetic Counseling

Immunotherapeutics: Changes in the Landscape of Advanced Cancer Care

Recent approvals of several checkpoint inhibitors across multiple cancer settings have brought more than just new and improved treatments to the clinic. According to David R. Spigel, MD, Chief Scientific Officer at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, the rapid ascent of immunotherapy has created unexpected problems, too. At the 2016 [ Read More ]

Palliative Care

Novel Techniques for Measuring and Assessing Symptoms

Although symptom management is a cornerstone of high-quality cancer care, according to data presented at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, clinicians often miss the incidence of patients’ symptoms or underestimate their magnitude. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs), which are direct reports from patients themselves about their symptoms, physical functioning, or [ Read More ]

Palliative Care

Quality Improvement Project Doubles Hospice Length of Stay

A simple quality improvement project to increase duration of hospice care for patients has doubled hospice length of stay, reaching the national median in 1 year. Conducted within the OhioHealth system, this relatively minor intervention suggests that oncologists can change their behavior and refer patients earlier to hospice care. “We [ Read More ]

Palliative Care

Caring About Caregivers: Implementing Formal Caregiver Support Programs

At the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium, the message was clear and emphatic: We should care about caregivers as both co-deliverers and co-recipients of healthcare services. “Despite providing essential home and healthcare services, cancer caregivers are underserved and undervalued while facing a multitude of unmet needs,” said J. Nicholas [ Read More ]

Palliative Care

PMC’s Progress Report

In its strategic plan for 2016, the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) defined 3 overarching goals for the personalized medicine community: 1) highlight the issues facing personalized medicine; 2) identify the best strategies to integrate personalized medicine into healthcare; and 3) promote public policies that encourage investment in personalized medicine, including [ Read More ]

Edward Abrahams, PhD

The Last Word