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

Palliative Care - October 18, 2016

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 ]

Clinical Trials - October 18, 2016

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 ]