DNA analysis is moving into medicine, and in specialties such as cancer genomics, it already has a foothold. Doctors can take a sliver of their patient’s tumor and have it sequenced and analyzed for molecular aberrations that can then be precisely targeted by a drug, assuming one is available (see this infographic for an overview). But this patient-tailored treatment often just leads to “momentary great successes,” said Alexis Borisy at this morning’s EmTech 2012 session on personal genomics and medicine.
“[Targeted therapies] will lead to a wonderful six months or 12 months of high quality addition of life, which is important, but then the cancer will come back,” said Borisy, who cofounded the cancer genomics company Foundation Medicine.
“But we know the solution to this, which is approaching it with the right cocktail of therapies,” he said. Inspired by past successes in curing some childhood cancers with mixes of different drugs, Borisy said that combinations of therapies could lead to some “very meaningful advances in our care for cancer over the next decade.”
The future of genome-informed cancer treatments will be sophisticated blends of drugs specifically tuned to a patient’s tumor’s individual DNA code, he said. These cocktails will contain five or six different drugs, about half of which will target specific disruptions in a tumor. The rest will be more generalized cancer-fighting compounds such as classic chemotherapeutics that destroy any rapidly proliferating cells.
This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting
With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.
VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence
On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.
This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine
Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.
This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it.
Greg Rutkowski is a more popular prompt than Picasso.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.