Fine-tuning Cancer Treatments
The plummeting cost of DNA sequencing has enabled scientists to explore the genetic complexities of cancer with an ever-finer comb, uncovering a growing number of genetic mutations that drive cancer. Now this genetic knowledge is being used to direct drug development by testing specific compounds on 1,000 cancer cell lines that incorporate many of these mutations. The findings will help pharmaceutical companies design clinical trials so that they include only those patients most likely to respond to a drug. Ultimately, physicians hope to be able to screen a patient's tumor and choose the most effective drug based on its specific genetic profile.