Senior Scientific Director of Molecular Medicine Scripps Research-Florida
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Molecular pathology approaches for clinical oncological care is routinely performed on cancer patients with recurrent or metastatic disease. While these “omic” diagnostics seemingly improved prognostication and prediction, some molecular 'signatures' are not useful in clinical practice because of their inability to independently validate treatment options. By nature, associations between genomic profiles and clinical response are correlative rather than mechanistic resulting in poor prediction for needed care. Advances in our lab, in combination with our academic and industry partners, has made possible in-vitro/ex-vivo 3 dimensional (3D) models of cancer biology for use in a rapid, highly miniaturized, and cost-effective fashion that permits direct drug response profiling to be generated in a phenotypic manner that is patient specific. By integrating genomic diagnostics with drug response testing a significant breakthrough toward advancing precision medicine, using tumor biopsies, is now technologically possible and is referred to as Precision Medicine Therapeutic Profiling. Glioblastomas and cancer of the pancreas represent two of the most lethal malignancies with survival typically less than two years from diagnosis. These models of malignancy combined with genetic profiling have been tested in 3D cultures to validate the best drug, or combination of drugs, for individualized care in a time frame that is meaningful to clinical application. It is hypothesized that the comprehensive data generated will afford physicians with a powerful new insight that is actionable for patient care.