Precision medicine

Precision medicine, also known as personalized medicine, is an innovative approach to cancer care that considers the unique differences in each person’s genes, environments and lifestyles. By customizing medical care and treatment plans based on individual characteristics, precision medicine has ushered in a new era of cancer care, moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach.

Key components of precision medicine include:

  • Genomics: The study of an individual's genetic makeup plays a critical role in precision medicine, providing valuable insights into how genes may influence health and disease.
  • Biomarkers: These are essential for measuring the presence or progress of a disease and evaluating the effectiveness of a treatment.
  • Data integration: By integrating various data sources such as genetic information, clinical data and environmental factors, health care providers can gain a comprehensive understanding of an individual's health profile.
  • Targeted therapies: These therapies are specifically designed to target the underlying causes of a disease and can be prescribed for individuals with certain genetic or molecular characteristics.
  • Predictive modeling: Using data and computational methods to forecast individual responses to treatments or the likelihood of developing certain diseases, this completes the holistic approach of precision medicine.
  • Liquid biopsy: Liquid biopsy is a blood test that can detect cancerous tumors by analyzing components like circulating tumor cells and DNA. Unlike traditional biopsies, liquid biopsies can offer insights into the genetic makeup of the tumor and guide treatment decisions. Although a biopsy is still the best way to diagnose cancer, liquid biopsies are an important tool for detecting cancerous tumors.

Benefits of precision medicine

Precision medicine has been especially beneficial in treating a complex disease like cancer, where the genetic makeup of tumors can differ vastly between patients. By identifying specific genetic mutations or biomarkers and selecting treatments that are more likely to be effective for a particular patient, the cancer team can achieve better outcomes and reduce side effects. The advancement of technologies such as high-throughput DNA sequencing and bioinformatics has enabled significant progress in precision medicine initiatives.

Precision medicine has emerged as a game-changer in cancer care, with its ability to tailor medical care and treatment plans based on each patient's unique characteristics.

Main Line Health is at the forefront of precision medicine, demonstrating significant potential to improve patient outcomes and reshape the future of cancer care.

Main Line Health Cancer Care's Molecular Tumor Board (MTB)

Main Line Health Cancer Care's Molecular Tumor Board (MTB) is a dedicated assembly of medical experts collaborating to assess and decipher molecular profiling results for individual cancer patients. Key aspects of the MTB's role include:

  1. Genomic analysis: The MTB conducts a thorough genomic analysis to identify unique alterations in the patient's genetic makeup.
  2. Personalized treatment: Based on the identified genomic alterations, the MTB recommends personalized, targeted therapies tailored to each patient's specific needs.
  3. Multidisciplinary team: The MTB comprises a diverse team of medical professionals:
    • Oncologists: Experts specializing in cancer treatment
    • Geneticists: Specialists in genetics and hereditary factors
    • Pathologists: Professionals adept at analyzing tissue samples
    • Other specialists: Depending on the case, additional experts may be consulted
  4. Treatment recommendations: The MTB meticulously matches patients with available therapies, including investigational drugs and considers the individual's genomic profile to propose the most effective treatment options.
  5. Challenges and advances: The MTB addresses the complexities of precision cancer medicine, tackling issues like identifying targetable genomic alterations and comprehending histology-agnostic therapeutics. They remain abreast of scientific advancements and clinical evidence to provide the most up-to-date and effective recommendations.

What this means for Main Line Health cancer patients

Through the analysis of genomic alterations, personalized treatment plans are created for each patient's specific cancer profile. The expertise of a multidisciplinary team that includes oncologists, geneticists, pathologists and more provides a comprehensive understanding of the patient's condition, leading to well-informed treatment recommendations.

Cutting-edge therapies, including investigational drugs, are identified and recommended by the MTB, giving patients access to innovative treatments and clinical trials that could improve outcomes. Treatment selections are optimized through the consideration of genomic alterations, reducing the likelihood of unnecessary treatments and maximizing the chances of a positive response.