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Big Research Questions

Posted 10/1/2015

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  I am back at the hospital today, feeling both exhausted and exhilarated by my days at Wonderwell. Given those feelings and how swamped I am today and that I think it is time for a change in the flavor of this blog, today's topic is big cancer research questions. What are the over-arching questions and themes and challenges?

  From Eureka Science comes the answers:


Eight big questions in cancer research

Leading cancer researchers address eight of the "big
questions" facing the field as part of the inaugural issue of
Trends in Cancer, published by Cell Press.

1. How can knowing the mutations that cause a patient's
cancer shape treatment?
Scientists have spent decades learning the precise genetic
mutations that can cause a cell to start dividing
uncontrollably. Cancer patients can now have their tumors
sequenced to identify the genetic root of their disease--and
we have targeted treatments for many of these genetic
alterations--but we are still very much in the early years of
making the most of genomic data.
Enter the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), launched
during President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address.
It includes a focus on cancer that aims to identify new clinical
situations in cancer where targeted treatment will be effective, study potential resistances, and develop
databases that aggregate patients' health data to help doctors make better clinical decisions.
"The precision medicine initiative in oncology is focused on treatment," says Douglas Lowy, Acting Director of
the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "However, we also need to recognize that prevention and screening are key areas that do not fall within the PMI per se but are areas where we look forward to making substantial
progress."
Source: "Douglas Lowy: Precision Medicine gets Presidential Treatment" http://www.cell.com/trends/cancer
/abstract/S2405-8033(15)00017-5

Curious about the other seven? Read more: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/cp-ebq092915.php

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