What Is Precision Oncology and What Does It Mean for Breast Cancer Patients?
What Is Precision Oncology and What Does It Mean for Breast Cancer Patients? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.
Are we closer to personalizing breast cancer treatment? Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy defines precision oncology and explains the progress being made to make it a reality.
Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy is the Section Chief of Breast Medical Oncology and the Director of the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program in Breast Cancer at The Ohio State College of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Ramaswamy.
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We often hear the term precision oncology. What exactly does that mean?
So, precision oncology is again, one of the ways that we are getting better, right? So, what we are trying to understand is that originally, we just understood cancer as just where all it is and how spread it is. Again, an anatomical. Now we are getting more and more into the biology. So, in the biology we were focusing more on the RNA. There are two things, the RNA and DNA. DNA is your code, and RNA is the one that comes from the DNA kind of the message that goes, makes the protein, which changes everything in your body. So, we were focusing on the RNA, which are the biomarkers, right? Because we – you that that’s what drives the cancer. Now we are focusing more on the DNA. What is changing within the core, that blueprint in the tumors that is causing resistance that is making cancer cells worse?
Could we target those? And so that is what is precision oncology. They’re trying to understand the genetic core change within your tumor and maybe able to target that. You could have breast cancer, you could have a completely different cancer like lung cancer. But if you have the same genomic change or gene change within the tumor, could we just target that cells and be able to get a really good response? And those are the kind of ways we are going towards. And I can tell you it is as you hear this concept, it sounds like so bizarre. I’ll tell you, I felt the same too when it all started, even as a scientist and an oncologist. But it is truly becoming a reality. And in certainly in more some cancers more than the others, but it’s slowly becoming a reality for all cancers. So definitely, again, a positive and a tailored therapy to the patient. And so that’s what we want.