Personalized Medicine Mission’s Personalized Cancer Medicine Program utilizes genetic or genomic testing whenever possible to identify specific mutations in a patient’s tumor and target those mutations with specific drugs. Soon the program will utilize not only the genetic information found in the tumor, but also the genetic information the patient has inherited from his/her parents to further enhance treatment for each patient. By utilizing both types of genetic information (from the tumor and inherited), cancer patients will have the opportunity to receive cutting-edge care locally, potentially reduce severe side effects from drugs and take drugs at a dose that their body can tolerate. For more information about our Personalized Medicine program for non-cancer patients, click here. What is a Personalized Cancer Medicine Program? A Personalized Medicine Program integrates all relevant information to enhance care for individuals and populations, including family history, lifestyle, demographic, genetic and genomic factors. Together with studies from clinical research, this information is utilized to individualize care and management of disease, especially for chronic conditions. Mission’s Personalized Cancer Program focuses on enhancing care for the cancer patient. What are the goals and vision for this program? Our overall goal is to enhance and optimize the quality, safety and effectiveness of the care of each individual cancer patient using evidence-based practices. Mission’s Personalized Medicine Program will initially focus on predicting an individual cancer patient’s response to anti-cancer drugs based on the genetic or molecular characteristics of the patient’s tumor. Whenever possible, we will also utilize genetic characteristics of the individual patient to minimize toxicity and maximize effectiveness of drug therapy. How does personalized medicine work? In cancer patients, tests are performed on the patient’s individual tumor to analyze mutations that are associated with tumor growth. We then try to match the tumor mutation(s) to drugs that target those mutations. By using “targeted therapy” we can utilize the most effective drug to target (and hopefully destroy) the tumor cells that carry the mutation, thereby not destroying normal cells in the process. This should lead to less toxicity and more effective management of the cancer. Why is this of value to patients and providers? Using genetic and molecular information to guide treatment decisions provides a more science-based, rather than trial-and-error approach, to treating each individual cancer patient. Providing these cutting-edge services at Mission gives patients and their families the opportunity to receive this care locally. Building on the existing expertise at Mission, the Personalized Medicine Program prepares our region for the practice of genomic medicine--utilizing the most important and evidence-based information to help manage our patients with cancer and other chronic diseases.