“There are as many types of lung cancer as there are patients with lung cancer. We now understand lung cancer is unique to each patient and tailored treatments are more effective and less toxic. With the rapid developments being made in targeted treatment options available to patients with lung cancer, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are no longer the only treatment options. Patients need to know about all the options that are available to them.”
–Bonnie J. Addario, Founder and Chair, Addario Lung Cancer Foundation*
One of these days, we’ll all have our genetic profiles screened before being prescribed a drug for a serious disease. There’s no question about it – it’s just a matter of time. For now, though, we’re in the beginning stages of precision medicine, in which a handful of drugs with companion diagnostics are proving that it works — quite well, in fact. And, with intelligently designed clinical trials that drive precision medicine even further, we’re likely to see many more targeted therapies in the near future.
Take for example, Lung-MAP. It’s a clinical trial focused on squamous cell lung cancer in which over 20 different nonprofit, government, and pharmaceutical organizations are working together to match patients with an investigational treatment (from one of the member organizations) that best fits their genomic profile.
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Aside from having patients screened only once for their particular genomic alterations, there are countless other benefits of this collaborative approach to clinical trials that are built on the concept of precision medicine.
Clinical trials are expensive, long, and often times destined to struggle from the beginning due to complex protocols. Most trials today test one investigational product, even when a company may be in the process of developing multiple drugs to treat the same condition. If you take into consideration all the other organizations that are developing therapies for the same disease, there’s a tremendous amount of overlap taking place. Patient recruitment alone is one of the most challenging aspects of a trial, especially for rare diseases.
The advantages of a multi-company, multi-drug study are clear. The cost is spread out. Patients can be enrolled faster. Treatments can be move along the clinical trial process quicker. It’s a win-win for the pharmaceutical companies and patients.
*Quote reprinted from Lung-MAP press release titled: “DON’T GUESS. TEST.” CAMPAIGN AIMS TO EDUCATE PATIENTS ABOUT COMPREHENSIVE GENOMIC TESTING IN LUNG CANCER