Are customized cancer treatments a real possibility? Benjamin D. Hopkins, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Genomics and Genetic Sciences, Oncological Sciences, and the co-leader of the Functional Genomics Pipeline at The Tisch Cancer Institute. His cancer genetics research has developed an automated screening platform that can be used to identify tumor-specific drug sensitivities used for highly specialized cancer treatment.
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Dr. Hopkins focuses particularly on lung, breast, and pancreatic cancer, which is one of the 20% of cancers with no specific standard treatment plan. The Functional Genomics Pipeline as a whole screens cancer therapies to identify which types of patients with which types of tumors may be able to benefit from those therapies.
Using cancer genome sequencing, it has become possible to identify tumor-specific vulnerabilities, which can then be exploited for cancer treatment purposes. This includes using one medication to sensitize tumor cells to another medication, as a way to reduce the collateral damage done to healthy cells during cancer treatment.
Knowing exactly which mutational events are driving each specific tumor allows Dr. Hopkins and his team to target the specific mechanisms that tumor relies upon to thrive and multiply. This highly individualized approach in combination with public campaigns such as Breast Cancer Awareness month could lead to a future where cancer is considered a treatable disease across the board.
For more information visit https://labs.icahn.mssm.edu/hopkinslab/
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