A novel individualized systems medicine (ISM) strategy which enables selection of potentially effective cancer therapies for individual patients was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, FIMM, and the Helsinki University Central Hospital. Furthermore, this strategy helps in understanding and predicting drug resistance and may pave a path for individualized optimization of patient therapies in the clinic for various types of cancers.
Many novel targeted drugs have been introduced to the clinic for cancer therapy, often guided by genomic clues on disease pathogenesis. Clinical treatment of cancer patients is, however, challenged by the fact that genomics is often not informative in selecting therapies to individual patients. Patients also often develop resistance to therapies that were initially effective. Furthermore, tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution over time within an individual patient make it difficult to apply cancer genomics as a guide to patient therapy.
ISM combines genomics with comprehensive drug sensitivity testing of patient cells to facilitate optimization of safe and efficacious cancer therapies for individual patients. Furthermore, the ISM strategy aids in understanding and predicting how drug resistance evolves and how it may be prevented.