Dr. Christine Lovly, MD, PhD, Associate professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt Health joins us to discuss genomic testing. What is genomic testing? Dr. Lovely says genomic, also called biomarker testing is where we look at the blueprints of the tumor’s DNA to be able to ask what’s driving this tumor to become a cancer, what’s causing it to grow and more importantly can we use that information to help us select for drugs that help treat our patients and more precise, more personalized way.
If you are a cancer patient, anybody who is a cancer patient provider or cancer patient advocate, talk to your doctor about biomarker testing, has it been done on the tumor already, should it be done, what information can we gleam from that, and how to select the best drugs?
In lung cancer, she says, we have multiple different biomarkers that we get from the testing results that actually help us to treat our patients in a more personalized, more precise way.
Dr. Lovely says there is so much progress going on in the world of cancer right now and it is an exciting time to be part of cancer research, to be able to really afford better opportunities for our patients to live well with their cancer.
In 2015 Gina Hollenbeck was 38 years old. She was training for a triathlon, working as a nurse and she got the number one cancer killer of men and women, lung cancer. She says science and research is just evolving and she was lucky she had a doctor who knew to do comprehensive biomarker testing from the very beginning. He wanted to look at the DNA of her cancer, figure out what was driving it. Gina says she was someone who had no risk factors and no family history of cancer. She says her doctor wanted to figure out what was driving her cancer so that he could give her the very best medicine and personalize the treatment for her.
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