Med-Time Stories: Picture Books for Children With Cancer
June 06, 2016 – Don Vaughan
Matching Cancer Treatment and Support to the Individual's Needs
May 23, 2016 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Taking Exceptionalism to a New Level
May 15, 2016 – Mike Hennessy, Sr.
Comments From Readers on CURE's Spring 2016 Issue
May 23, 2016 – Compiled by staff editors
Attention Smokers: Watercress Extract May Detoxify Carcinogens
May 23, 2016 – Katie Kosko
Are Patients Reaping the Benefits of Cancer Advancements?
May 20, 2016 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
In Film, Young Man Sheds Light on Childhood Cancer
May 20, 2016 – Katie Kosko
Cold Comfort: Cooling Caps Can Preserve Hair for Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
May 19, 2016 – Dara Chadwick
Paying it Forward: Trials Can Improve Life for Future Cancer Survivors
May 18, 2016 – Mickey Goodman
Getting Graphic About Cancer
May 17, 2016 – Don Vaughan
Role Reversal: When Husbands Become Cancer Caregivers
May 17, 2016 – Mark Cantrell
Refreshing Your Memory: Easing the Effects of Chemobrain Through Training
May 26, 2016 – Connie Carson
Learning From the Best: On Patients Who Respond Well to Cancer Treatment
May 13, 2016 – Erik Ness
Med-Time Stories: Picture Books for Children With Cancer
June 06, 2016 – Don Vaughan
Currently Viewing
Matching Cancer Treatment and Support to the Individual's Needs
May 23, 2016 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Comments From Readers on CURE's Spring 2016 Issue
May 23, 2016 – Compiled by staff editors
Attention Smokers: Watercress Extract May Detoxify Carcinogens
May 23, 2016 – Katie Kosko
Are Patients Reaping the Benefits of Cancer Advancements?
May 20, 2016 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
In Film, Young Man Sheds Light on Childhood Cancer
May 20, 2016 – Katie Kosko
Cold Comfort: Cooling Caps Can Preserve Hair for Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy
May 19, 2016 – Dara Chadwick
Paying it Forward: Trials Can Improve Life for Future Cancer Survivors
May 18, 2016 – Mickey Goodman
Getting Graphic About Cancer
May 17, 2016 – Don Vaughan
Role Reversal: When Husbands Become Cancer Caregivers
May 17, 2016 – Mark Cantrell
Refreshing Your Memory: Easing the Effects of Chemobrain Through Training
May 26, 2016 – Connie Carson
Learning From the Best: On Patients Who Respond Well to Cancer Treatment
May 13, 2016 – Erik Ness

Matching Cancer Treatment and Support to the Individual's Needs

At the genomic level, we now have the tools to detect multiple mutations in the billions of DNA base pairs of cancer cells of a given person’s tumor, and from that information, to select one of several targeted drugs that may be a “match” for that tumor.
BY Debu Tripathy, MD
PUBLISHED May 23, 2016
IN THIS SPRING issue of CURE, there are two articles that highlight a growing appreciation for the uniqueness of every cancer and the very specific effects it may have on an individual. At the genomic level, we now have the tools to detect multiple mutations in the billions of DNA base pairs of cancer cells of a given person’s tumor, and from that information, to select one of several targeted drugs that may be a “match” for that tumor. We are at the very early edge of this era — yes, we do have FDA-approved biological drugs for certain mutations, but a vast majority of cancer cases do not have such an option yet.

The goal of the NCI-MATCH trial (open nationwide but currently on hold as analysis and adjustment of the genomic tests and results takes place) is to detect genetic defects through sophisticated testing of tumor tissue in patients who have advanced cancer and limited options. If a mutation is found that matches a drug with a track record of responses, the patient can be enrolled. The novelty is that the mutation, not the type of cancer, dictates the therapy. It is expected that most cases will not match to a drug, but as we learn about more mutations and develop drugs that have activity against them, those numbers may change.

NCI-MATCH, one of several basket or umbrella trials discussed in our article on this topic, is the first large-scale trial of its type, but many more initiatives representing variations on this theme are being launched. It is possible that the future of cancer will be to run tumor tissue (or simply a blood sample) through a “cancer tricorder” (yes, a Star Trek reference!) and come up with an effective tailored formula of biological drugs.

Another article in this issue addresses an equally personalized aspect of cancer — helping survivors with the physical and emotional issues that follow a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Much more focus and funding are being aimed at alleviating the turbulence placed on patients and their communities, and our article looks at some of the clinical trials being conducted in this area. Indeed, there is elegant science exploring innovative ways to address issues like cancer-initiated post-traumatic stress disorder or the bodily disturbances brought on by cancer treatments — these also vary from person to person, so tailored approaches are needed.

Cancer survivors are growing in number and, as a vital part of our society, their health is critical. We must exercise the same thoughtfulness and diligence in this sector as we do in the area of cancer therapy.

DEBU TRIPATHY, MD
Editor-in-Chief
Professor of Medicine
Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In