The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center has announced a four-year, $30 million gift from the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research at the Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia for research and the development of technologies that pinpoint novel genetic characteristics of an individual patient's cancer.
The gift will be used to launch three pilot projects over four years at the Center for Personalized Cancer Medicine focused on changes in cancer-related DNA mutations inside cells as well as genetic changes outside of cells' nuclear DNA, known as epigenetic alternations. Specifically, investigators will examine which genomic and epigenomic factors affect responses to treatment in patients with leukemia and lung cancer and will work to develop tests for the early detection of various cancers, including breast, colon, and lung.
Johns Hopkins officials say the research will help speed the development of therapies based on an individual cancer patient's genetic "fingerprint" and help clinicians tailor drug treatment to a patient's disease, track its progress, and avoid unnecessary treatments. Some cancers may be prevented altogether, said Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center director William G. Nelson 8212 a development that would slash the costs of new drug discoveries by limiting "hit and miss" approaches.
"Personalized cancer medicine addresses the reality that no two people are exactly alike, and that no two cancers are exactly alike," said Nelson. "I believe that the revolution occurring in personalized cancer medicine, driven by genome technologies, will have its greatest effect on the discovery and development of new cancer treatments, a process that right now is far too slow and too expensive for the more than 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year."