Precision Cancer Trials Are Booming Despite Skeptics Who Doubt Their Value

When President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law on December 13, sickness he ensured $4.8 billion in federal funding to advance his own Precision Medicine Initiative, as well as the Cancer Moonshot program led by Vice President Joe Biden, which also prioritizes precision medicine. But even before the law passed, enthusiasm was on the rise for precision cancer drug trials—research aimed at matching patients with drug therapies designed to attack specific genetic mutations in their tumors.

One of the biggest precision cancer trials was announced back in October by Biden himself and is being led by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The trial is enrolling patients over 60 who are newly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Based on the results of genetic testing, they will be assigned to receive any one of four experimental drugs made by Alexion, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene and Gilead Sciences. The project, called the Beat AML Master Trial, recently began enrolling the 500 patients LLS hopes to ultimately include in the research.

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