Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Susan Young Rojahn

A View from Susan Young Rojahn

EmTech: The Future of Cancer Treatment

Cocktails of targeted cancer therapies could push survival beyond just months of additional life.

  • October 25, 2012

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.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.