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Improving the Lives of Patients Through Genetically Informed Medicine

Genetically informed medicine, commonly referred to as personalized medicine, is a term used by many different communities that can mean many different things.  The phrase personalized medicine usually refers to medical care that is informed by an individual's specific genetic makeup, or genetically informed medicine.  NCI is focused on ushering in the era when tailored prevention and treatment strategies, based on the unique characteristics of each person and the tumor, are standard practice in research-based clinics as well as community settings.

To achieve this end, NCI is spearheading an innovative platform of activities to enhance the full spectrum of cancer research and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries in the laboratory into better treatments in the clinic.

This graphic provides an overview with more information about these activities.

Improving the Lives of Patients Through Genetically Informed Medicine Research, Patient & Clinical DataBiospecimensDiscover Multi-dimensional Genomic & Clinical DataIdentify Targets & FunctionsAssess Potential AgentsProduce High-Quality AgentsConduct Toxicology & Principal TestingConduct Marker-Driven Clinical TrialsTargeted InterventionsPersonalized Medicine at Point of CarePrivate Sector/Academic Research Labs 

Biospecimens

Patient biospecimens, such as tissue, blood, and plasma, will be collected, processed, catalogued, analyzed, and stored using standardized protocols and the latest technologies.

NCI Program:

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Discover Multidimensional Genomic and Clinical Data

Scientists will seek to identify changes in the human genome involved in cancer.

NCI Programs:

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Identify Targets and Functions

Investigators will study changes identified through genomic research to answer specific questions about the biologic function of these alterations (single and cumulative) and to determine potential targets for new therapeutics.

NCI Program:

  • Functional Biology Consortium

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Assess Potential Agents

High-throughput screening will test large libraries of compounds to determine which compounds may affect the targets. Chemists will carefully review and assess targets and refine seemingly effective compounds to increase the likelihood of creating an effective therapy.

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Produce High-Quality Agents

Investigational therapies will be refined and formulated for delivery to patients. Using good manufacturing practices, therapies will be produced in necessary quantities for further investigation.

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Conduct Toxicology and Preclinical Testing

Exploratory investigational new drugs will continue into toxicology screening and preclinical testing to determine their feasibility in the clinic.

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Conduct Marker-Driven Clinical Trials

Clinical trials for new therapies will emphasize matching patients to trials based on their genetic characterization and assess the effect of multiple agents. NCI conducts clinical trials on its campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and funds clinical trials across the country.

NCI Programs:

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Targeted Interventions

Targeted treatments are based on an understanding of the unique characteristics of cancer cells and how they are different from normal cells. Understanding these differences can result in treatments targeted to specific types of cancer cells rather than at all the cells within the body. In this way, targeted cancer therapies may have reduced side effects.

Learn more:

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Genetically Informed Medicine at Point of Care

The promise of genetically informed medicine means that patients will receive treatments in their local communities that target the unique characteristics of their specific tumors. Such targeted interventions result in fewer side effects, allowing patients to experience a higher quality of life during treatment.

Learn more:

  • NCI Cancer Bulletin featuring personalized medicine

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Research, Patient, and Clinical Data

A secure bioinformatics platform will enable the collection, analysis, and sharing of data and knowledge along the entire research pathway from laboratory bench to patient bedside by linking researchers, physicians, and patients in a voluntary network of infrastructure, tools, and ideas.

NCI Program:

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Private Sector/Academic Research Labs

Public and private research labs enter the pipeline and access resources as needed.

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Additional Resources

See additional information about NCI Budget Requests.