We are living in the lucky days of cancer research.
Two revolutions in cancer therapy — one successfully tested by President Jimmy Carter — are giving patients of all kinds a new hope.
The first is what we call immunotherapy
. When cancer cells happen they have a don't eat me signal on the surface. Well, we now have the ability, and there are drugs that are approved that block that don't eat meat signal and allow the immune system to come in and basically eat the cancer.
Number two is what we call precision or personalized medicine. And what it means is that I can now take a piece of your cancer and sequence the DNA and look at what genes are turned on and what genes are turned off and hopefully develop a way to turn off the driving genes. And it works in many of the patients, not all. In many of the patients we don't yet know the drivers. We don't have drugs to turn off every gene, but I can sequence the DNA of the cancer and develop a personalized therapy of that patient!