Cancer Care


Precision Medicine

doctor talking to couple

Personalized Medicine

Precision medicine, also known as personalized medicine, is a medical approach that allows your doctor to select a treatment plan based on an understanding of the genetics of you or your loved one’s disease. While you may not have heard of it, it’s an evolving process that can be used to treat one’s cancer. While many modern approaches to cancer deal with a collective group, precision medicine are based on the individual’s own health. Below we’ll cover some basics of precision medicine and how next-generation sequencing can be used to treat the disease.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Simply put, precision medicine is a disease treatment that considers an individual's genes, lifestyle choices, and environment. It's typically characterized by the claim that the approach is tailored to the individual. Regarding cancer treatment, precision medicine allows a physician to use information from changes in the genetic makeup of the tumor.

An example of precision medicine is when a doctor prescribes a medicine based on similar genetic changes in different tumors. Rather than prescribe a medication for the type of cancer, the doctor can prescribe based on similar tumors.
More traditional ways of detecting cancer can be time-consuming. This is especially detrimental in the later stages of the tumor. The key to the successful treatment of cancer is to detect it early on.

When patients see a doctor for a tumor, they generally prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach. However, this approach is often unsuccessful. Typical treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and invasive surgery. The treatment is usually based on the location of the tumor.

Precision medicine, on the other hand, treats the tumor based on its genetic changes. Rather than focus on the location of the tumor, this approach focuses on the genetic mutations.

The benefits of this approach include earlier detection of certain types of cancer. By focusing on the molecular level, doctors don't have to wait for the tumor to grow to begin treatment. An example of this is an individual being tested for potential cancer based on their family's medical history. By focusing on their genetics, detection can be improved, allowing treatment before symptoms begin to appear.
Next-generation sequencing, or NGS, is a type of tumor profiling used in precision medicine. By using NGS, the entire human genome can be sequenced. While it hasn't become a routine clinical practice, the method is gaining traction.

Using next-generation sequencing, genetic changes in a tumor can be easily identified.

Next-generation sequencing can be very useful when standard cancer treatments simply don't work. The testing procedure can also help when a doctor is not able to locate the origin of the cancer.

According to one study, next-generation sequencing can greatly improve the outcomes of cancer patients.

In the study, more than 1,000 cancer patients were treated at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. From that study, genomic alterations were found in close to 80% of the documented patients. Out of 130 patients who received next-generation sequencing treatment, 40% indicated they saw benefits.

Next-generation sequencing also helped patients identify the tissue of origin for their cancer. This helped doctors provide specific treatments for their cancer based on the results of the sequencing.

Many patients have gene mutations that unfortunately put them at higher risk for certain types of cancer. However, simply having these gene mutations does not indicate the presence of cancer. Here at New Jersey Cancer Care, we've developed a Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing Program that can help decide if next-generation sequencing is needed.

With the improvements being made in the discovery of cancers and their genetic makeups, doctors are better able to treat the disease. New drugs are being developed from this procedure.
Using precision medicine and next-generation sequencing, better treatments are fortunately becoming the norm. That's why choosing New Jersey Cancer Care for your treatment can help if you or a loved one might have a potential risk for cancer.

With over 40 years of helping patients with their cancer treatment, there's no reason to wait to contact us. We're proud to be members of the Quality Cancer Care Alliance, which focuses on better outcomes in cancer care.

Don't lose hope if you suspect you may be at risk for cancer. Contact our office today to find out how we can help.