UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center launched a bold plan today aimed at personalizing cancer treatment. The "My Answer to Cancer" team of oncologists, bioinformaticians, pathologists and geneticists pledges to "sequence" or analyze the DNA of large numbers of patients with cancer in order to match each patient to the best available drug for his or her particular tumor. There will be two parallel approaches: a research approach to discover new mutations that cause cancer and a patient-care approach that will use confirmed mutations and other DNA abnormalities to direct patients to clinical studies of agents targeting these abnormalities.
"No two cancers are alike, just as no two people are exactly alike," said Barbara Parker, MD, medical director of oncology services at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. "Recent advances have made it possible to generate a profile of the DNA abnormalities in a tumor. With this information, we can identify profiles that will allow us to tailor cancer treatments to individual patients. This approach will open a new world of cancer treatment with 'targeted agents' and could lead to significantly better therapies. Additionally, this research approach will identify new tumor DNA profile abnormalities that could lead to the development of new drugs and new combinations of drugs."
A project of this scope depends on strong community support. UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is calling on people living in San Diego County and beyond to help raise an initial $5 million for this effort. Donors will receive regular updates on medical breakthroughs, the number of patients treated, the number of community members joining in the project, and the amount of money raised, in addition to expert interviews.