Cancer affects 40% of men and women in the United States in their lifetimes. It is a far-reaching enemy—and a tough one.
Hiding in plain sight, its abnormal cells are still our own—and so go unrecognized by our immune systems as an attack target. Cancer also evades treatment by being as genetically individual as people are, so no one drug therapy will work every time, all the time.
By uncovering the mechanisms behind both cancer's biology and our immune system, Stanford clinicians and researchers are developing new strategies to thwart cancer's ability to evade successful treatment.
These strategies include:
- novel therapies called immunotherapy, which harness the body’s innate defenses to destroy cancer cells or stop its growth
- genetic profiling of each patient’s cancer for more individualized and effective treatment planning
Stanford doctors discuss the clinical research that enabled today's revolutionary treatments and explain why genetic analysis of a cancer is essential to optimal treatment planning.
One of the centerpieces of the Stanford Cancer Center is its Molecular Tumor Board, where a team of cancer specialists examines the genetic profile of each patient's cancer. Using this genetic information, our doctors are able to deliver more effective treatment by:
- matching the cancer's genetic mutations to immunotherapies known to be effective against its particular mutations
- determining the likelihood of a cancer to spread to other parts of the body
- predicting which patients need to get the most aggressive treatment