Fourth Issue, Series Three

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

Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO
Letter to Our Readers

Dear Colleague,

Benson-pic-98pxPersonalizing 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 disease, and cancer in particular, has impacted the previous platform by which we study possible treatments. Clinical trial designs reflect this shift in understanding. By way of example, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched the Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (MATCH) trial.

NCI-MATCH was developed to address the efficacy of treating a patient with cancer based on molecular abnormalities as opposed to tissue of origin. The trial was designed as a master protocol for molecular screening, with various associated phase 2 subprotocols or “arms” that could be added or closed without affecting the main trial.

We are pleased to present a report from 2 of the investigators, Barbara A. Conley, MD, and Keith T. Flaherty, MD, on the basis and complexities of this trial.

This month’s Interview with the Innovator features our discussion with James Lim, PhD, of Xcell Biosciences. Dr Lim, a cofounder of Xcellbio, discusses cell culturing and the novel approach his company is taking in this field to help advance cancer research.

Cristi Radford, MS, CGC, and Courtney Lewis, MS, CGC, discuss the newly updated NCCN guidelines for patients with a genetic high risk of colorectal cancer.

We are pleased to feature reports from the recent Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in the hope of increasing awareness of this important phase of personalizing care.

Finally, we present The Last Word from our regular contributor, Edward Abrahams, PhD, of the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC). Dr Abrahams offers a progress report of the PMC in attaining their goal.

As always, it is our hope that PMO is an asset to you in your care of patients.

Sincerely,

Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO
Coeditor in Chief
Personalized Medicine in Oncology

2016 ASCO Quality Care Symposium - April 14, 2016

Improving Value by Understanding Total Cost of Cancer Care

Aggressive cancer treatments, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospital admissions at the end of life are major cost drivers. The use of cost data to inform infrastructure investments can help cancer centers to move toward value-based payment models, improve end-of-life planning, and reduce futile care, according to Kerin Adelson, MD.The [ Read More ]

Palliative Care - November 10, 2016

Managing Immune-Related Toxicities

For many patients with advanced melanoma and lung cancer, checkpoint inhibitors have been a godsend, helping to extend survival to previously unthinkable lengths. While the impression is that checkpoint inhibitors are free of adverse effects, in reality, clinicians strive daily to balance the efficacy and toxicity of these treatments. At [ Read More ]