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Personalized Medicine

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Using DNA for More Effective Cancer Treatment

Woman Gardening

In the past, patients with the same type of cancer usually received the same type of treatment. For example, if you had stage IV breast cancer, you probably received similar initial chemotherapy treatment as every other patient with stage IV breast cancer.

But people are not all alike, and tumors are not all alike. Thanks to advances in medicine, today we are able to analyze the DNA of individual patients and their specific tumors — using a process called gene sequencing — to help treat cancer more effectively and efficiently.

Personalizing Treatments with DNA Analysis

Using gene sequencing allows our cancer specialists to identify gene abnormalities in many different types of cancer cells — no matter where the cancer is located. This information helps us to create a truly personalized treatment plan that will work best for you.

Personalized Medicine has been shown to provide improved outcomes for our patients and has quickly become the standard of care we apply to all our patients who come to us for cancer treatment.

How it Works

  • DNA material is collected through a tissue biopsy and through blood tests and/or mouth swabs
  • We conduct a sophisticated genetic analysis using Next Generation Deep Gene Sequencing. This analysis looks into the cancer's genetics to help our specialists understand the unique makeup of the cancer.
  • The results of this analysis are compared with data from numerous robust data sources in order to recommend customized treatment options. These options may include:
    • Currently available drugs
    • Clinical trials
    • Drugs that are not yet approved for treatment of that type of cancer (so-called "off label" uses of these drugs are often approved by insurance companies for cancer treatment if recommended through the personalized medicine process).

Turnaround time for the genetic testing can be as short as one to two weeks, and normally does not delay patients from starting their treatment in any way.

Talk to Your Doctor

Personalized medicine and gene sequencing is available for our newly diagnosed patients, and is an important piece of the work we do to create the right treatment plan for each patient. It is available for patients of all ages and with all cancer types. And, while not every tumor has an actionable genetic result, most do.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your MultiCare doctor will discuss personalized medicine with you in detail when you meet to discuss the next steps for your treatment.

Not a MultiCare patient? Find a MultiCare cancer specialist in your area.

Learn More

Learn more about Personalized Medicine at these sites:

American Cancer Society
National Comprehensive Care Network