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Precision Medicine At NYP Is Transforming Cancer Care

Thanks to the precision medicine treatments available at NewYork-Presbyterian, patients are receiving innovative, individualized care.
Thanks to the precision medicine treatments available at NewYork-Presbyterian, patients are receiving innovative, individualized care. Photo Credit: iStock.com/Gio_tto

Precision medicine is transforming cancer care, from “one size fits all” medicine to a personalized approach based on a patient’s genetic profile, features of their cancer cells and medical history.

Thanks to advances in technology, including the mapping of the human genome, medical oncologists are able to identify specific gene alterations, or mutations, in a patient’s tumor. As a result, they can target therapy that will most effectively treat the tumor with fewer and less-harmful side effects. Combined with other factors including overall patient health, environment and lifestyle, precision medicine is fine-tuned to the patient’s needs and provides a greater chance of survival than ever before.

Precision therapies offered by medical oncologists include small molecule drugs, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines or a combination of therapies that target a specific gene, pathway or process in a tumor. The treatments impair the tumor's ability to grow, divide and spread without detrimental effects to normal, non-cancerous cells. These targeted therapies are used to treat a range of cancers including breast, lung, prostate, ovarian, bladder and colorectal cancers, as well as melanomas and leukemias.

For instance, scientists now know that breast cancer can be divided into three distinct cancer types based on the type of protein “markers” on the breast cancer cells. The marker types are either estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 -- or HER-2. Depending on the type of breast cancer, precision treatment may involve hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or a combination of these, and can be administered before or after surgery or radiation.

Precision medicine also enables patients with advanced disease and no current treatment options to find beneficial therapies. Such was the case for a 76-year woman with advanced bladder cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and liver. After years of unsuccessful treatment that included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the patient’s physicians sent a sample of her tumor to the Institute of Precision Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Genetic sequencing revealed that the patient had HER2 amplification, a mutation that is more commonly associated with breast cancer. Based on this information, her physicians recommended she try an unconventional therapy, Herceptin, a drug that targets the HER2 mutation. Since taking the drug, the patient has no evidence of cancer.

At NewYork-Presbyterian, precision medicine is fast becoming one of the mainstays of cancer treatment. Oncologists link cutting-edge research and next-generation genetic analysis to help patients receive the latest innovative treatment approaches. The board certified medical oncologists collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists to provide each patient with an individualized plan of care. The team frequently collaborates with the faculty at the academic medical centers, many of whom are world-class experts in their respective fields, to discuss the most complicated cases. To find a cancer specialist at the NewYork-Presbyterian location most convenient for you, please visit nyp.org/cancerlocations.

NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the largest and most comprehensive hospitals in the nation, ranked New York’s No. 1 hospital for the 16th consecutive year, and No. 6 in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. Affiliated with two academic medical colleges -- Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medicine , NewYork-Presbyterian brings together internationally recognized researchers and clinicians to develop and implement the latest approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is one of only three NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York State. NewYork-Presbyterian provides comprehensive cancer care at all of our locations across the New York Metro area including Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. Learn more at nyp.org/cancer.

Daily Voice produced this article as part of a paid Content Partnership with our advertiser, NewYork-Presbyterian

We are highly selective with our Content Partners, and only share stories that we believe are truly valuable to the communities we serve.

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