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.
Patient biospecimens, such as tissue, blood, and plasma, will be collected, processed, catalogued, analyzed, and stored using standardized protocols and the latest technologies.
- The Cancer Human Biobank (caHUB)
Discover Multidimensional Genomic and Clinical Data
Scientists will seek to identify changes in the human genome involved in cancer.
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.
- Functional Biology Consortium
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.
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.
- Formerly Rapid Access to Intervention Development (RAID), now evolving to NCI’s Experimental Therapeutics Program (NExT)
Conduct Toxicology and Preclinical Testing
Exploratory investigational new drugs will continue into toxicology screening and preclinical testing to determine their feasibility in the clinic.
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.
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.
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.
- NCI Cancer Bulletin featuring personalized medicine
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.
- caCLOUD underpinned by the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid™ (CaBIG™)
Private Sector/Academic Research Labs
Public and private research labs enter the pipeline and access resources as needed.
See additional information about NCI Budget Requests.