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Precision Medicine

Hospitals and Health Systems Prepare for the Precision Medicine Revolution

by Margaret Brown

Future Healthcare Today curates the latest news and trends in the health IT industry, with a particular focus on health IT. In this week’s roundup, we look at the precision medicine and how it is changing patient care and health IT. From being used to help breast cancer patients and patients of a Pennsylvania health system, to how it will fundamentally change how health systems approach patient care, we look this and more in this latest health it roundup:


Therapy Made from Patient’s Immune System Shows Promise for Advanced Breast Cancer

Doctors at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say they have completely eradicated cancer from a patient who had, what was considered untreatable, advanced breast cancer. The case is raising hopes about a new way to harness the immune system to fight cancers.

The methods and the patient’s experience are described in a paper published in Nature Medicine. Dr. Steven Rosenberg, an oncologist and immunologist at the National Cancer Institute, and his team have been painstakingly analyzing the DNA in a sample of each of 45+ patient’s cancer for mutations specific to their malignancies. Then, the scientists sift through tumor tissue for immune system cells known as T cells that appear programmed to hone in on those mutations.

Currently, the approach doesn’t work for everyone, so the team is planning to fully evaluate the treatment’s effectiveness with additional patients. Read the story here.

Routine DNA Screening Moves into Primary Care

If you have a genetic mutation that increases your risk for a treatable medical condition, would you want to know?

For many people the answer is yes. But typically, such information has not been a part of routine primary care. That could be changing for patients at Geisinger Health System, who will be offered DNA sequencing.

Geisinger Health System’s plan is to look for mutations in at least 77 genes, many of which have been associated with medical conditions, ranging from heart disease to cancer. Others have been linked to variability in how people respond to certain medicines based on heredity. When it goes into effect, only actionable mutations will be communicated to patients. For example, they don’t plan to inform patients if they have a variant of the APOE gene that somewhat increases their risk for getting Alzheimer’s disease, because that information wouldn’t change anything about their medical treatment.

Read the story here.

Is Your Hospital Ready for The Many Challenges of Precision Medicine?

Precision medicine will bring fundamental changes to hospitals and health systems. Before long, care and treatment based on genetic sequencing and other omics will become the standard of care, and providers will need to be ready to compete.

“My prediction is that genomic medicine will move from a specialty that did not even require an MD degree, to become an integral part of practice that’s required of everyone with an MD degree,” Nephi Walton, MD, said at the HIMSS Precision Medicine Summit in Washington, D.C. There are many challenges ahead, even as genomics is increasingly prevalent. As the knowledge gained so far moves more and more into everyday care decisions, precision medicine techniques, as they currently exist, are largely inefficient and unscalable. So substantial changes need to be made to capitalize on it. Still, health systems need to be ready for this brave new world.

Read the story here.

At Bio-IT World, Genomic Research Will Take Center Stage

Rapid advancements in the field of genomic research over the last decade have researchers primed to deliver even greater progress soon. At the recent Bio-IT World Conference in Boston, NetApp Global Solutions Manager for Genomics, David LaBrosse, attributed the achievements researchers have accomplished to the funding the field has received, as well as to technologies specifically developed to support this type of data-driven research.

“While researchers have already created petabytes of data to advance our journey towards truly personalized medicine, they’re about to unleash a tsunami of data. The latest genomic sequencers can create terabytes of data a day and even the best funded research facilities are having a challenging time processing, analyzing, managing, and moving this data to put it to work to deliver results. Getting data out of silos into more flexible cloud services models is essential to the on-going success of genomic research,” said LaBrosse.

Read the story here.

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