MY ANSWER TO CANCER’s team of expert cancer doctors, bioinformaticians, pathologists and geneticists will analyze the DNA sequence of patients with cancer. These complex data will be used to pinpoint the root causes of each cancer, and to choose the best treatment strategy for each patient. A giant databank of information will be created and linked with data from other experts. This will allow us to extract unprecedented information that will lead to more effective personalized cancer treatments now, and to progressively better treatments with each additional patient.
This initiative takes place here and now, at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
Personalized Cancer Treatment
For most metastatic cancers, traditional therapies increase survival by only a few months. Furthermore, many treatments––surgery, radiation, and standard chemotherapy––are toxic and disfiguring. Patients tell us they are not sure if the cancer or the treatment is worse. This must and can change!
Fortunately, our understanding of cancer is advancing at an astounding rate. Scientists have discovered the abnormal pathways that drive cancer cells to grow and invade. Potent drugs that specifically suppress these abnormal signals and, hence, kill cancer cells without causing significant damage to normal tissue are becoming available. These drugs often have very few to no side effects.
However, it is crucial to recognize that these potent, molecularly targeted compounds may produce a response only in patients who bear the specific abnormal signal capable of being modulated by that agent. Because each patient’s cancer may be different, it's essential to analyze the DNA of each tumor and choose the best drugs for that individual. By using powerful computer technology, our scientists will rapidly learn from the tremendously complicated information gathered from each of these analyses to design even better personalized treatment strategies for each future patient.
The old treatment model of diagnosing cancer by peering into a “light” microscope (an instrument invented in 1590) is no longer adequate. In order to move forward in leaps rather than small increments, we must use the “molecular microscope” of the 21st century, and create alongside it a giant databank that will quickly drive new discoveries for patients with cancer.
We have the drugs. We have the technology. We have the physicians and scientists. And we have a plan of attack: MY ANSWER TO CANCER. If we can put the resources in place, we can now change the face of cancer.