What is Precision Medicine?

Precision medicine is an application of the knowledge and technologies derived from studies of the human genome to tailor care of an individual patient. Study of a patients genes can be used to guide efforts to maintain wellness, identify diseases for which the patient may be at risk or to help select among the medication choices which may be best for the individual.

Genetic analysis includes sequencing of a patient’s genes or tumors for DNA and RNA genomic deviations, altered protein expression or changes in tumors immune system reactivity. Hoag collaborates with Caris Life Sciences, Ambry Genetics and other commercial labs to perform this analysis.

In oncology, doctors know that a patients genes may mean they have an increased risk of some cancers. Patients identified at high risk of a particular cancer may undergo close surveillance, or in some cases may opt to take medicine or undergo a preventative operation in order to reduce their risk of developing cancer. Such genetic analysis may mean that family members may also need to be tested. For this reason, Hoag has the Hereditary Cancer Program, led by certified genetic counselors and has established programs for patients with an increased genetic risk for breast, colon, prostate, thyroid, pancreas and other cancers.

For patients who have cancer, precision medicine offers hope and the prospects for more effective and less toxic treatment regimens. All cancer cells have mutations in the genes that drive their abnormal growth. Using the powerful new technologies developed during the sequencing of the human genome, an individual patient’s tumor can be analyzed for that particular tumor’s abnormal genes. In many cases, doctors at Hoag have novel drugs which can specifically target the abnormal genes causing the cancer. The team at Hoag is also working with teams at Caris, Syapse and other institutions to develop and use a national registry of tumor mutations and targeted treatments to benefit patients.

Hoag Precision Medicine Program

Hoag’s Precision Medicine Program started in 2016 and is focused on cancer and in particular, advanced or rare cancers. The program is led by Michael J. Demeure, M.D. and Burton Eisenberg, M.D., Executive Medical Director, Hoag Family Cancer Institute and Grace E. Hoag Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair who oversee the strategy and further development efforts. Cancer care at Hoag is coordinated around disease systems and a multidisciplinary approach where teams of experts work together to assure each patient receives the best possible care. Implementation of Precision Medicine will keep Hoag at the forefront of cancer care and become a valuable step in this coordinated care effort.

If you have questions, please call 949-7-CANCER.