Bringing Precision Medicine to Pancreatic Cancer Care
Precision medicine is a new approach to cancer treatment that is expanding the therapeutic options available to doctors and patients. In recent years, it has taken an important place alongside the familiar tools of medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgical oncology.
For the patient, precision medicine starts with a molecular analysis of his or her tumor and the gene mutations and proteins that make it unique. The doctor then uses the analysis to match the tumor with the treatment that is most likely to be successful. This "targeted therapy" contrasts sharply with standard chemotherapy, the traditional "one size fits all" approach that may result in side effects and damage to both cancer cells and healthy cells.
Today, precision medicine is bringing new hope to people with breast, lung, colon and other cancers. Advancements in understanding the biology of pancreatic cancer hold promise for precision medicine, too, yet progress has been slower than for other tumors. Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most challenging forms of cancer, with an annual death toll of some 50,000 Americans. The rate of survival has improved little in the past 25 years.
BIDMC, a significant center of pancreatic cancer clinical research, is urgently seeking to make precision medicine a reality for pancreatic cancer patients. The work of our physician-scientists includes:
- Patient-derived xenografts to facilitate the development of biomarkers and personalized medicine
- Active clinical trials testing new drugs and combinations of drugs to fight pancreatic cancer, including immunotherapies
Advancing Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Watch a report from FOX 25 News about how the researchers in BIDMC's Pancreas and Liver Institute are working to personalize pancreatic cancer treatments.