Center for Precision Medicine

Cancer is a complex disease. Even people with the same type of cancer can respond differently to the same therapy. Advances in genomics are transforming the fight against cancer. Understanding the genetic profile of a tumor can help doctors personalize treatment by utilizing therapies that are either Food and Drug Administration-approved or available via a clinical trial. Meanwhile, testing for inherited factors that increase cancer risk can help family members take steps for early detection and prevention.

Precision medicine enables health care providers to plan personalized care based on the genes a person inherited and/or those in their cancer cells.

City of Hope’s Center for Precision Medicine is dedicated to leading the advancement of precision oncology research and treatment. We are building infrastructure to optimize the benefit of precision medicine for patients worldwide. our vision is to harness genomic insights, clinical expertise and advanced analytics to pioneer personalized treatment and prevention, improving quality of life for our patients and their families.

Our work is ultimately based in City of Hope’s ethos of compassionate, patient-centered care. By unlocking the genomic mysteries of cancer, we want to bring the best treatment or prevention plan to each individual. Instead of narrowly addressing one illness or one genetic variant, we treat the whole person.

A Pioneering Approach

City of Hope's structure as a world-renowned independent research institution and one of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers enables us to reimagine patient care with a differentiated "bench to bedside" approach.

The multidisciplinary collaboration that drives the Center for Precision Medicine includes experts in medical oncology, genetics, genetic counseling, epidemiology, gastroenterology, surgery and other specialty services. We are dedicated to advancing the state of the art in precision oncology, and translating the latest knowledge into protocols that improve treatment and prevention. Our evidence-based approach leads to discoveries with real clinical relevance.

  • Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen): Part of City of Hope, TGen provides breakthrough genomics research, fully leveraged to provide highly specialized care and precision medicine treatment to City of Hope patients across our clinical care network.
    • TGen’s Ashion Analytics lab developed the comprehensive genomic profiling test we use for precision medicine which analyzes all protein-coding regions of DNA (known as the exome) and all RNA.
    • With this information, the patient’s multidisciplinary care team can make the best treatment recommendation for the best outcome.
  • Precision Oncology Tumor Board: This unique board allows a patient to receive coordinated, multidisciplinary care from a group of leading experts in the precision cancer care field.
    • We use real-world patient data to modify the patient’s treatment based on their specific needs and transform how cancer care is delivered today. We are aiming to democratize access to genomic information and provide more people with access to precision medicine by bringing City of Hope’s expertise and methodology to providers at scale.
  • GMP Facilities: There are three GMP (good manufacturing practice) facilities on our campus to create biologics, cell therapies and chemical compounds so we can quickly turn scientific discoveries into therapies for patients.

How We Make a Difference for Patients

All patients are unique and so is their cancer. One of the most important elements of their journey is having genomic information from their tumor and inherited DNA, both of which can help physicians treat each patient with the right therapy at the right time — a targeted therapy approach known as precision medicine.

With precision medicine, a patient’s treatment or disease prevention plan is tailored to the specific genomic details of that person’s illness. This information can help to identify the biochemical mechanisms involved in that particular cancer, and the treatment with the greatest likelihood of success against it.

More than that, when a patient is tested for the genes associated with cancer risk, the Center for Precision Medicine also offers testing for markers that indicate risk for other health problems. Our genomic analysis includes the full slate of factors recommended by the American College of Genetics, such as those that make people susceptible to treatable cardiovascular disease — supplying potentially lifesaving information that reaches far beyond cancer care.

How We Make a Difference for Family Members

At City of Hope, we offer lifesaving cancer prevention and early detection for thousands of families at risk for inherited cancers by providing a full picture of genomic information. This includes conducting germline genetic testing to determine inheritable cancer risk, as well as implementing innovative genetics services, including counseling, to fully support patients and family members with hereditary cancer and treatable noncancer conditions.

When a patient is found to carry a gene that increases susceptibility to cancer, such as a BRCA1 mutation, the Center for Precision Medicine also makes genomic testing available to their family members. For those at heightened risk for cancer, there's the chance to undergo screenings for early detection. Some may even be able to reduce that risk with medications or preventive surgeries.

Other family members may learn that they do not carry a cancer-susceptibility gene. This, too, is a favorable outcome, sparing those at average risk from unnecessary screenings.

Leadership

A world-renowned cancer geneticist, Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., focuses his research on precision medicine and the genomics of cancer in order to improve treatment and care for cancer patients and their families. His emphasis is bringing clinical cancer genetics and translational research to cancer prevention and clinical care.