Jan. 18, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 8

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    Is personalized medicine the future for cancer patient care?

    By Catherine Gianaro
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    This winter, experts at the University will shed light on the emerging practice of “personalized medicine” by applying this popular yet poorly understood medical term to cancer.

    In a series of eight lectures—the fifth annual Charles B. Huggins Lecture Series—a cancer specialist will explain why personalized medicine may represent the future of cancer care.

    Personalized medicine uses knowledge gained from the increasingly prominent field of genomics to the delivery of health care. The lectures will explain how genomics will aid in the discovery and clinical testing of precisely targeted new treatments and help determine a patient’s predisposition to a particular disease or condition.

    This type of health care is now reaching the mainstream. In August 2006, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., introduced the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006—a bill to increase funding for research on genomics, expand the genomics workforce, provide a tax credit for the development of diagnostic tests that can improve the safety or effectiveness of drugs, and reaffirm the need to protect genetic privacy.

    The lecture series, titled “Personalized Medicine for Cancer,” which began on Jan.13, is held from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday, at 5841 S. Maryland Ave., Room P-117 in the University Medical Center.

    Over the eight-week series, R. Stephanie Huang, a Clinical Pharmacology Fellow in Medicine, will provide an overview of cancer and cancer chemotherapy, a more molecularly targeted approach to cancer, and the benefits and effects of personalized medicine.

    The series is named after Charles B. Huggins, who won the 1966 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research on testosterone’s involvement in prostate cancer. Huggins served as the first director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at Chicago.

    The Saturday lecture topics are scheduled as follows:

    Jan. 13: Overview of personalized medicine and cancer treatment

    Jan. 20: Pharmacology of cancer treatment

    Jan. 27: Molecularly targeted approach to cancer treatment

    Feb. 3: Success in applying genetics and genomics in optimized treatment

    Feb. 10: Human Genome Project and its relationship to pharmacology

    Feb. 17: A great set of cell line tools: family pedigrees, International HapMap cell lines and NCI60 cell lines

    Feb. 24: Ethical issues in personalized treatment

    March 3: Future medicines for cancer

    All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call (773) 834-3899.