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4bases’ paper of the month – September 2020: “Molecular profiling for precision cancer therapies”

Our team’s reading recommendation for this month goes to “Molecular profiling for precision cancer therapies” by Malone et al[i]

This extremely interesting and complete paper reviews the different approaches to precision medicine in the field of oncology and highlights the numerous challenges and opportunities our community is or will soon be facing.

Although cancer may still sound to the many as a single name pathology that is usually addressed by “one-size-fits-all“ therapeutic approaches, our community – active in the fields of molecular diagnostics and precision cancer therapies – has made enormous progress in the past decade. Supported by the development and democratization of NGS and, more recently, by the improvement of bioinformatics analyses and the ongoing harmonization of knowledge-bases, the number of FDA and EMA approved biomarker matching targeted drugs is increasing, which leads to a significant survival benefit.

However, the more we discover on cancer the more complex our diagnostic and therapeutic arsenals gets, and the wider the gap between the R&D community and the clinicians and their patients becomes. It’s therefore clear that – besides the numerous scientific and technical challenges that we’re used to face with – one of the challenges we’ll absolutely have to address in the future is the educational challenge. And not only do clinicians, our traditional “clients“ or interlocutors, need more and better education but also patients, as they represent active key stakeholders in precision medicine initiatives, do.

The next progresses will thus require more education of the end-users but also more engagement from their side. Our effort has therefore to encompass the field of communication and scientific popularization.

[i] Molecular profiling for precision cancer therapies; Malone et al. Genome Medicine (2020); https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-019-0703-1 – download


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