Changing Landscape of Clinical-Genomic Oncology Practice
The current paper discusses the use of genomics in the context of the changing landscape of clinical practice and modern medicine. Medical practice has shifted considerably over the past few decades, from empirical to evidence-based to personalized medicine, and the transition from reliance on observation to measureable parameters. Scientific innovation is required to collect an ever-increasing number and variety of data points and sophisticated analyses capable of distilling vast datasets into meaningful information. The next phase of innovation seeks to personalize disease management, in particular through genomics in oncology. With expanding use of genomics in medicine, and several initiatives collecting genomic data at the population level, education of patients and physicians is critical for data utility. By combining genomic and clinical data, bioinformatics approaches can be applied to developing individualized or targeted therapies. Breast cancer provides an example through which to understand the evolution of genomic data from purescience to clinical utility. From intrinsic subtype classification to development of multigene panels estimating recurrence risk, new studies, such as the FLEX trial, will expand to evaluate the whole transcriptome of tumours. This approach will enable discovery of novel gene signatures and ultimately pave the way toward a personalized approach to breast cancer management.
Conclusion. Despite the potential for genomics to personalize treatments, a number of challenges remain to fully integrate these types of large datasets in a manner that provides clinicians and patients with meaningful, actionable information. However, if challenges are addressed, precision medicine has the capacity to transform patient care.
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