The future of cancer care: a path toward personalized treatment

By Mariel Mohns, Morgridge Institute for Research

The biological complexity of cancer is individual to each patient, and it presents many roadblocks on the path toward optimal treatments. However, developments in DNA technologies and advanced imaging tools have greatly informed clinicians and researchers on ways to develop methods for precision care.

Morgridge biomedical imaging investigator Dr. Melissa Skala and University of Wisconsin–Madison medical oncologist Dr. Mark Burkard, joined Gabriella Gerhardt on December 6 for a webinar in the Fearless Science Speaker Series about the future of cancer care. The following highlights are some of the key takeaways. A recording of the webinar can be viewed in full above.

Currently, cancer treatment decisions are made based on several different questions: which drugs are most effective, how toxic is each drug, will there be side effects, etc. This is an iterative process, which can take weeks or months to determine if a patient is responding well. If not, the treatment plan is changed and the process starts over.

“I think of this as more of a compass where we’re thinking about what direction we can go, what options are available to us. It’s a general guideline,” Skala says. “Of course, we’d like to see something more precise, more of a GPS, what exactly to do to optimize this treatment plan for each patient so that they can achieve good health and long survival.” Read more…