this cancer treatment of the future?
go to your doctor's office for an appointment. A technician snips
a tiny bit of tissue for analysis. A pathologist places it in an
automated machine that processes it and comes back with a precise
analysis of your cancer what genes are over-expressed, what genes
are mutated, what genes are missing. When you come back for treatment,
you'll get just the prescription of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy
for your specific tumor type.
kind of designer therapy is decades away, but researchers like Paul
Gumerlock are working to make it happen. An associate professor
of hematology/oncology, he studies the biological pathways that
cause cancer, trying to find, as he puts it, "the Achilles'
heel in each person's tumor type."
know that all cancers are not alike," he says. "You can
have two patients with non-small cell lung cancer - the same type,
the same stage, but one will respond to treatment and the other
doesn't. We think it has to do with underlying molecular abnormalities
in tumor cells. These differences are at the heart of why one person
responds to therapy and the other doesn't."
job is to test cancer cells against novel cancer drugs that are
so new they are only available in laboratory settings. In preclinical
studies, he tests drugs on human prostate and lung tumor cell lines
to see how they affect cell death and proliferation. In correlative
studies he monitors how cancer patients with known genetic profiles
responded in clinical trials to these drugs, sharing the information
with oncologists planning treatment for cancer patients. His research
serves as the foundation for new understandings of the molecular
genetics of cancer and, ultimately, for new treatments.
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Building on Basics
Focusing on Patients |
In Translation |
Campus Connection |
News in Brief
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how cells respond to novel drugs, Paul Gumerlock investigates better
ways to kill cancer.