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Lung Cancer Research Results in Customized Care for Patients

Dr. SimonLung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related mortality in the US in both men and women. More men die from Lung Cancer than the next four causes of cancer put together (prostate, colon, pancreas and leukemia). More women die of Lung Cancer than breast and colon cancers put together. Therefore, small improvements in this disease will translate into many lives saved or many person-years of life extended.

Dr. George Simon, Burtschy Family Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, has focused research efforts on optimizing the efficacy of chemotherapy by tailoring the selection of chemotherapy based on the genetic profile of an individual patient's tumor. Preliminary evidence suggests that this strategy improves responses and survival. We have now designed several clinical trials that will offer personalized chemotherapy  to patients of the state of South Carolina.  These trials will be available at MUSC soon. We hope that this will offer better results than the one-size-fits all approach that is currently the standard of care.

An extension of the personalized therapy work is to make available novel targeted agents that will work well in patients with a specific molecular aberration. The team is in the process of setting up a system where we can test patients for these specific molecular aberrations and then direct patients to treatment with the appropriate targeted agents. These approaches will offer the right treatment to the right patient. Additionally, by optimizing efficacy and minimizing exposure to the toxicities of potentially ineffective agents this approach, we believe, is consistent with our philosophy of patient-centric delivery of cancer care.

George R. Simon, MD, FACP, FCCP, is an Associate Professor of Medicine & Oncology and Assistant Director of Clinical Investigations at Hollings Cancer Center.

Related Links:

  Dr. Simon Discusses Personalized Therapy for Lung Cancer Patients at MUSC

Video: Changes in Function Due to Lung Cancer

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