Otis Brawley, M.D., and Matthew Ong, of The Cancer Letter, were on the panel “How precision medicine and immunotherapy are redefining the approach to cancer treatment.”
Are precision medicine and immunotherapy overhyped as cancer treatments, or do they hold such tremendous promise that we are only just starting to see the potential?
That was the overarching question for the panel discussion at Health Journalism 2019, “How precision medicine and immunotherapy are redefining cancer treatment.”
“I do worry that precision medicine and immunotherapy are overhyped,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., Bloomberg distinguished professor of oncology and epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Brawley also was the Thursday night speaker at Health Journalism 2019. Continue reading
Can a precision medicine approach to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias improve outcomes?
That is the theory behind the Dementia Prevention Initiative (DPI). The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) program twists the usual methods used to research and treat AD by employing an “n-of-1” design individualize medicine down to a single patient. Instead of conducting a conventional trial of 100 people who get the same treatment, the program conducts 100 single trials personalized to the individual. The youngest DPI patient is currently 61, and the oldest is 86. Continue reading
At a conference last year, Michael Laposata, M.D., Ph.D., one of the nation’s best known pathologists, explained how clinical laboratories could deliver more value to patients, physicians, and health insurers. To do so, pathologists and laboratory scientists need to provide more detailed explanations about lab test results because even physicians who order genetic and molecular tests are often confused about the results, said Laposata, chairman of the Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
When he explains test results to ordering physicians, he frequently refers to an “allele” which is one of two or more versions of a gene, he said. When he does, physicians sometimes ask, “What’s an allele?”
His anecdote is telling following President Obama’s announcement last month that he recommended spending $215 million on the precision medicine initiative. The announcement was correctly hailed as an important and needed investment in medical technology. “Precision medicine” is described by the National Institutes of Health as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” Continue reading