Precision Medicine

Over 50 years ago, the Philadelphia chromosome provided the first evidence that genetic abnormalities were linked to cancer. Now, the Center for Personalized Diagnostics builds on this legacy and aims to identify genetic mutations within a patient's own cancer so that a more targeted and personalized "precision" treatment strategy can be utilized.

How does Precision Medicine work?

Precision medicine is an emerging form of disease diagnosis and prevention that uses genetic and other unique personalized information to deliver the right treatment, to the right person, at the right time. As importantly, the use of Precision Medicine may spare some individuals the costs and side effects of targeted therapies from which they would not benefit, based on their individualized makeup.

Identifying and Sequencing Liquid and Solid Tumors

In February 2013, Penn Medicine launched the Center for Personalized Diagnostics (CPD) with an initial focus on identifying genetic mutations in malignant tumors (cancers) that could potentially respond to targeted therapies. Since that time, the Center for Personalized Diagnostics has expanded the number and type of panels they run, to include tumors affecting blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes; as well as solid tumors, such as lung cancer.

As one of few centers in the country that can sequence and analyze panels (or groups) of potential genetic mutations in both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, we have found disease-associated genetic mutations in 75% of the tests performed. By integrating Molecular Genetics, Informatics, and Genomic Pathology, Precision Medicine will continue to have a major impact in cancer, particularly with the advent of targeted therapies (Precision Therapeutics) based upon specific mutations and altered pathways (e.g., BRAF, ALK).