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Precision Medicine

Precision medicine (also known as personalized medicine) uses information about a person’s genes, proteins, and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. Precision medicine includes the use of biomarkers, molecular testing, and targeted therapies to deliver a personalized approach to cancer therapy through the use of molecular and genomic information about individual cancers. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines precision medicine as “discovering unique therapies that treat an individual’s cancer based on the specific abnormalities of their tumor.”


Improving Care Delivery for Stages III and IV NSCLC

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) is partnering with the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), and the LUNGevity Foundation on a national initiative to identify and provide guidance on key issues related to delivering optimal care for patients diagnosed with stages III or IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) across different practice settings. 

As a first step in the Fostering Excellence in Care and Outcomes for Patients with Stage III and IV NSCLC initiative, ACCC conducted a survey to better understand the barriers and operational challenges in providing care for this patient population. Survey questions addressed diagnosis, treatment, care coordination, and communication within the interdisciplinary team caring for patients with locally advanced and late-stage NSCLC.

Informed by the survey results, the project’s Steering Committee will guide the selection of six cancer programs to serve as process improvement sites. Facilitated by ACCC, the six selected sites will create and execute process improvement models aimed at overcoming identified barriers to excellence in care for patients with these NSCLC stages. The models tested will be applicable across care settings. Results will be shared with the wider oncology community.

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Featured Programs

As the precision medicine landscape evolves, ACCC supports the multidisciplinary cancer care team with education in the following areas:

Integration of Pathology with the Cancer Care Team
Virtual Molecular Tumor Boards Webinar Series
Immuno-Oncology Institute

Archived Webinar

The Role of Genetics Professionals in a Community Cancer Program

Megan Landsverk, PhD, FACMG
Patricia Crotwell, PhD, FACMG
Sanford Cancer Center

Community cancer programs can expand patient services by including experts in molecular genetics and tumor genomics on their multidisciplinary team. Learn how these professionals contribute to the development of personalized genomic testing, analysis of pharmacogenetic factors to predict cancer prognosis and response to treatment, and the cytogenetic analysis of cancer.

Originally presented on March 16, 2017.

From Oncology Issues

  •  Genetic Counselor Extenders Help Meet Growing Demand for Services
    By Dawn M. Nixon, MS, LCGC, et al.
    St. Vincent Hospital implemented a collaborative method of care that uses genetic counselor extenders to increase patient access to risk assessment and genetic testing.
  • Development of a Model Precision Cancer Therapies Program in a Community Setting
    Marc R. Matrana, MD, MS, FACP, and Julia L. Cook, PhD
    In Louisiana, cancer incidence and death rates are greater than the national average. However, access to early phase clinical trials was nearly impossible to find. 2018 ACCC Innovator Award winner Ochsner Health System partnered with the Translational Genomics Research institute to establish a dedicated center to that accelerated treatment development and expanded patient access to precision medicines.
  •  Implementation of Drug Vial Optimization to Reduce Drug Waste
    Amerine LB, et al.
    In the Department of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina North Carolina Cancer Hospital, discarding partial drug vials was a significant source of waste. With their Innovator Award–winning drug vial optimization program, the program maximized the lifespan of drugs within single-dose vials and realized an annual cost savings of more than $40 million.
  • Robotic Bronchoscopy
    Amy Hindman
    Early identification, staging, and diagnosis of lung cancer is critical to improving patient outcomes. However, current diagnostic options are limited in accuracy, safety, and invasiveness—only 15 percent of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed at an early stage. Read how Fox Chase Cancer Center has implemented new flexible robotic endoscopic technology to diagnose hard-to-reach lung nodules with greater precision than ever before.
  •  CRISPR-Directed Gene Editing in a Community Cancer Center
    Eric B. Kmiec, PhD
    CRISPR, a gene editing tool, has entered the scientific arena and public discourse at an astounding speed. Eric B. Kmiec, PhD, director of the Gene Editing Institute at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, discusses the emergence of gene editing, how it can be utilized as a tool in the battle against cancer, and the challenges facing its transition from bench to bedside.
  •  The Inherited Cancer Registry (ICARE) Initiative
    Tuya Pal, MD, FACMG; Cristi Radford, MS, CGC; Anne Weidner, MPH; Ann Louise Tezak, MA, MPH; Deborah Cragun, PhD, MS, CGC; and Georgia Lowrey Wiesner, MD, MS
    The Inherited Cancer Registry (ICARE) is an academic-community partnership among healthcare providers, researchers, and individuals at an increased risk for inherited cancer. Learn about ICARE’s research registry for high-risk individuals and education efforts on inherited cancer for both patients and providers.
  •  Best Practices for Implementing Cancer Immunotherapy in the Community
    The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) recently hosted live continuing medical education (CME)-certified learning workshops at two community cancer programs to review current barriers to immunotherapy implementation in the community setting. During the workshops, an expert faculty panel engaged participants in discussion on the challenges that they may face as they integrate immunotherapy into their clinical practice, as well as practical solutions and strategies they can apply to overcome these barriers. This article summarizes the guidance and information provided by the faculty on the various issues raised during the workshop discussions.
  •  Building a Personalized Medicine Program
    Thomas D. Brown, MD, MBA
    The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) has a long history of providing the nurturing care of a community-based hospital while giving patients access to the latest cancer therapies. In 2013 we took on the question of how to integrate personalized, genomic medicine into our program.
  •  How Molecular Subtyping is Changing Our Understanding of Breast Cancer
    James V. Pellicane, MD, FACS
    This article describes molecular subtyping and shows how it is changing both the understanding of breast cancer and how to treat it. The article summarizes the most important new studies and details the impact of this new information for community cancer centers.
  •  Molecular Testing in the Community Setting
    In 2013, ACCC proceeded with Phase II, Learning Labs for Process Improvement, a program for member institutions that focused on improving molecular testing at the system level through experiential learning labs.

Additional Resources

NCCN Policy Report: Developments in Molecular Testing and Biosimilars (requires login)
Winckworth-Prejsnar K, Nardi EA, Lentz L, et al. NCCN Policy Report: Developments in Molecular Testing and Biosimilars. J Natl Compr Cancer Netw. 2017;15(6):772-782.

Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine
Craig LA, Phillips JK, Moses HL. (eds.) Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies: Key to Unlocking Precision Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2016.

ACCC and CAP TODAY webinar: CAP/AMP/IASLC Guidelines for NSCLC: Current Experience and Future Update Four national thought-leaders examine current guidelines, planned updates, and provide expert feedback on the impact of these guidelines on practices.
This webinar was originally broadcast on Nov. 30, 2016.