A Perfect Match: Precision Medicine and Targeted Therapy in Cancer Care

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A Perfect Match: Precision Medicine and Targeted Therapy in Cancer Care Photo

Genomic and biomarker testing is revolutionizing cancer care across many tumor types and is increasingly being implemented at community cancer centers like New York Cancer & Blood Specialists (NYCBS). At NYCBS, research is an important component of clinical practice.

Next-generation sequencing of tumor DNA is the backbone of personalized treatments in oncology. Since cancer is a genetic disease driven by alterations in the genome, attention to the genetic analysis of tumors enables physicians to personalize treatment to the patient’s cancer, also known as precision medicine.

Personalized medicine replaces the one-size-fits-all approach and individualizes treatment to the patient and their needs. For example, rather than giving generic chemotherapy to every patient with the same type of cancer, NYCBS can tailor the therapy to the particular characteristics of a patient’s tumor, resulting in a more effective and less toxic treatment.

Precision medicine tailors therapy to the individual genetic characteristics of each patient’s cancer. NYCBS uses tools to analyze the genetic makeup of the cancer from a specimen of a patient’s tumor tissue. “We also can frequently detect the presence of these mutations by analyzing patients’ blood samples,” said Chief Medical Officer Harry Staszewski, MD. ”We can often track the changes in a patient’s cancer over time and adjust treatment without having to use invasive biopsies. ”

Precision medicine has become a largely used tool for patients, particularly with specific diseases, and is routine in managing lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, malignant melanoma, and gynecologic malignancies. It is, however, playing an increasing role in many different cancers.

“Not only does it allow us to match treatment to our currently available chest of medications, but it also enables us to target and refer patients for cutting-edge clinical trials and research,” Dr. Staszewski said. NYCBS Oncologists are also evaluating a new generation of blood tests that may enable the detection of cancer in early stages from snippets of DNA released from tumor cells into the bloodstream months to years before changes show up on the standard screening tests.

NYCBS has more than 60 clinical trials available at all of its locations. In addition to genetic testing for the tumor, NYCBS offers genetic testing for patients to gain insight on genetic predisposition to cancer for other family members and tailor treatments that may work more effectively in patients with certain genetic mutations, such as the BRCA gene.

To make an appointment, please call NYCBS at 1-833-CANCER9. For more information, visit nycancer.com.