Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Foundation Medicine partner on precision medicine education initiative

Cancer Treatment Centers of American and Foundation Medicine will team up to educate doctors and patients about precision medicine.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Foundation Medicine will launch an education initiative aimed at increasing clinician, caregiver and patient awareness of precision medicine options.

The longtime partners will team up to spotlight the importance of offering comprehensive genomic testing early in a cancer patient’s care plan to create a more personalized approach and improve their outcomes, the two organizations announced.

The program will profile several cancer patients through their journey, from diagnosis to genomic profiling to treatment, offering insight for doctors into personalized therapies and potential clinical trials.

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Maurie Markman, M.D., president of medicine and science at CTCA, said in the announcement that care personalized to the genomic level allows doctors to “furnish care in a much more comprehensive and effective manner.”

"Precision cancer treatment using advanced genomic testing is changing the science of cancer care," Markman said. "As oncologists, we have an obligation to the patients we serve to keep pace with and, whenever possible, lead the way in the application of the latest diagnostic tools that may help inform treatment decisions.”

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Genomics is here to stay, so hospitals should be taking steps to prepare for the changes it brings, according to an article from Hospitals & Health Networks. The cost of a genome sequencing test is roughly that of an MRI, making it a far more viable tool than even a decade ago.

Genomics may be especially useful for cancer patients, but it has merit for rare disorders as well, according to the article, especially in diagnosis. Patients, particularly infants and young children, frequently had to go from doctor to doctor and procedure to procedure without a definitive or clear diagnosis. DNA sequencing now allows doctors to make diagnoses in near-real time.

“Our ability to diagnose genetic conditions has improved dramatically,” Louanne Hudgins, M.D., president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and director of perinatal genetics at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, told the publication. “The idea that there is no treatment for genetic disorders is just not true anymore.”