October 2016, Vol. 5, No. 8

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


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.


Coeditor in Chief
Personalized Medicine in Oncology

Genetic Counseling - October 18, 2016

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 ]

Palliative Care - October 18, 2016

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 ]