The Pathway to Personalized Medicine

What is Personalized Medicine?

Every individual’s disease is different. Personalized medicine strives to provide the right medicine for the right patient with the lowest toxicity. Personalized cancer therapy using proteomics involves molecular profiling of the patient’s cancer cells to map the susceptible drug targets and thereby guide therapy. Research, like that being done by the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, provides strategies for personalized treatment with the goal of providing physicians key missing molecular information about the disease in each of their patients and improving the quality of life for patients.

CAPMM Mission

The Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine’s mission is to: a) create new technologies and make basic science discoveries in the field of disease pathogenesis b) apply these discoveries and technologies to create and implement strategies for disease prevention, early diagnosis and individualized therapy. The primary emphasis of our disease research is cancer, but new technologies developed in the center are being applied to a number of important human diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, as well as liver, ocular, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases.

Combatting Tuberculosis

Combatting Tuberculosis

Mason scientists develop nanotechnology-based urine test that could lead to early TB detection

The Scientists at George Mason University have developed a nanotechnology that for the first time can measure a sugar molecule in urine that identifies tuberculosis with high sensitivity and specificity, setting the stage for a rapid, highly accurate and far less-invasive urine test of the disease that could potentially prove to be the difference between life and death in many underdeveloped parts of the world. The international team led by George Mason’s Alessandra Luchini and Lance Liotta report in Science Translational Magazine that a sugar molecule called “LAM,” which comes from the surface of the tuberculosis bacteria, can be measured in the urine of all patients with active tuberculosis regardless of whether they have a simultaneous infection with another pathogen (e.g. HIV). The more severe the disease, the higher the sugar concentration in the urine, said Luchini, an associate professor in Mason’s College of Science. Current methods of detection – skin tests, blood tests and chest X-rays – are often very expensive and not always available in rural settings in lesser developed parts of the world. Urine is considered an ideal body fluid for a TB test because it can be easily and noninvasively collected. “We can measure now what could never be measured before,” said Liotta, co-director of Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Successful Side-Out Metastatic Breast Cancer Clinical Trial is Expanding

The Side-Out Metastatic Breast cancer trial was announced at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and is expected to expand into phase two this month.

ASCO Poster Presentation

The pilot study was the first of its kind to utilize novel protein activation mapping technology along with the genomic fingerprint of cancer as a way to find the most effective treatment. Results indicate that while prior standard chemotherapy failed the 25 women who participated in the 2.5 year pilot study, nearly half of the patients enrolled in the Side-Out trail had at least a 30 percent increase in progression-free survival.

This molecular approach creates opportunities for new therapies. For example, if a breast tumor shares the same protein pathway activation shared with lung cancer, then the drug developed to hit that target for lung cancer can be used now for breast cancer. The pilot study included only FDA-approved drugs currently on the market. Additional studies are expected to fold in new drugs as they become available with experimental drug.

Hear what patients and a treating physician has to say: Funded by Volleyball Tournaments, Breast Cancer Pilot Study Succeeds

Based on the results of this trial, CAPMM and the Side-Out Foundation are expanding this study to a new trial that is set to launch within the next month.

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