A Personalized Cancer Medicine Resource for Oncology Providers

October 1, 2014
Katherine Mitchell, APRN, AOCNP
Katherine Mitchell, APRN, AOCNP

Unless you’ve been practicing under a rock, you know as an oncology provider that the future of cancer medicine is in genomics. It seems as though a new targeted agent is approved on almost a weekly basis-how do we keep up?

I don’t know about you, but I find it almost impossible to stay abreast on what agents are available for different disease types; which molecular markers should be drawn to know if an agent will be beneficial; what agent targets certain mutation(s); and also the implications to the patient should I choose a certain agent for treatment – timing, dosing, side effects, and so on.

Well, now cancer genomics is being demystified for all of us through an exciting new website developed by an extensive team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), spearheaded by Drs. Mia Levy and Christine Lovly. I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Lovly speak this past weekend at our regional oncology symposium. She shared with us the comprehensive website, My Cancer Genome, which is an amazing resource to help make genetically informed treatment decisions for your patient.  On this site you will find 21 diseases represented and 56 different gene mutations delineated.  Here is a list of just some of the information available to you:

  • List of all known cancer mutations
  • List of specific clinical trials for specific gene mutations
  • Overview of targeted therapies for cancer
  • List of anti-cancer agents
  • Types of molecular tumor testing
  • Link to articles of interest (PubMed)

This website has been the collaborative effort of not only the large team at Vanderbilt, but also internationally with 61 countries contributing. Vanderbilt is tracking the activity on the website and based on this feedback, they hope to improve the information available and the overall process.

As with everything these days: there’s an app for that, specifically for iPhone and iPad. The team is currently working on a similar website aimed at patients and caregivers, which will help to further simplify gene mutations for the community we serve.

I hope you too find this site extremely informative and helpful. As for my colleagues and I, we were all saying a collective, “yes!” when we heard about this. Many of us were downloading the app as she spoke. This tool could not have come at a more crucial time. The future of oncology is bright with possibilities of specific targeted therapies which we hope will greatly increase long-term survival while minimizing toxicity for our patients.