The idea of manipulating a patient’s immune response to target cancer dates back a century, but only recently has the technology to apply it become available, said Glenn Dranoff, M.D., global head of exploratory immuno-oncology, Novartis, during a discussion hosted by Johns Hopkins Medicine on March 8 in Washington, D.C. Panelists discussed precision medicine as it relates to cost, communication, research, and health care delivery.
Dranoff pointed to immunotherapy to treat melanoma, which can achieve 10 years survival through as little as four treatments, as an example of how far precision medicine research has come.
Antony Rosen, M.D., vice dean for research, Johns Hopkins Medicine, said there are challenges to advancing precision medicine with insufficient funding, noting a 20% decline in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget over the past 15 years. With President Trump’s proposed deep cuts to NIH funding for both FY17 and FY18, those challenges could be amplified, he added.
“We are concerned about the prospect of budget cuts at NIH because if you don’t have the NIH providing seed corn for this research, then you don’t reap the benefits,” said Margaret Anderson, executive director of FasterCures. “The urgency of this work as it applies to real life patients cannot be underscored enough.”
To learn more about the Johns Hopkins Medicine precision medicine initiative, visit http://bit.ly/2o32mS1.