Researchers working on new way to design personalized cancer treatment options

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Posted at 12:38 PM, Sep 21, 2021

The way we treat cancer is changing. Doctors are working on a new way to design personalized treatment options.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Cancer are using artificial intelligence and data to create virtual replicas of patients' DNA, RNA, protein and other information.

These virtual replicas are known as "molecular twins." They will be used to help identify the most effective approach to treating each individual's disease.

And if there isn't a therapy available, they’ll select the best clinical trial for the patient.

“Embedded in this molecular twin concept is the ability to discover new targets for therapy and therefore, by knowing new targets, new genes that are not OK and we need to inhibit them, generate excitement and opportunities for academic centers and pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs against those targets,” said Dr. Dan Theodorescu, the director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer.

Dr. Theodorescu says the initiative is also focused on advancing cancer care and research in underserved populations.

They want to make it so investigators can analyze how ethnic and racial disparities affect tumor biology and treatment.

“Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to see what the genetics are of women that get less bladder cancer than men? And it's hormones, it's smoking, but if you correct for all that, there's something in the genes as well,” said Dr. Theodorescu.

He says there isn't one type of cancer the molecular twin initiative will work best for. But they will likely get information about more common cancers more quickly because they see them more frequently.

Scientists plan to genetically classify cancer genes and proteins of particular tumors obtained from thousands of Cedars-Sinai Cancer patients. They'll be building a database that can be used by other doctors.