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New paper published in Nature Reviews Cancer

Personalized HIV therapy – a blueprint for cancer treatment?

Cancer is difficult to treat because it behaves differently in each patient and evolves over time. One promising approach to cancer treatment combines several drugs in a personalized way, accounting for each tumor’s molecular characteristics. CeMM Principal Investigator Christoph Bock – in joint work with Thomas Lengauer at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics – has now looked beyond cancer and reports that recent advances in HIV therapy could provide a strategy for developing personalized cancer therapies. Until recently, most HIV-infected patients died from AIDS within several years after infection, even after the first anti-HIV drugs had become available. This was because HIV evolves in the patient and quickly becomes resistant against single drugs (which is also true for most cancers). However, over the last decade sophisticated treatment strategies have been developed, which are based on combinations of several drugs, genome-based diagnosis of drug resistance and the use of computers for designing powerful combination therapies. In a Perspective article in Nature Reviews Cancer, Christoph Bock and Thomas Lengauer now argue that the time has come to pursue a similar strategy for cancer research. CeMM researchers are already pursuing several projects along these lines, for example personal cancer genome sequencing at the newly established Biomedical Sequencing Facility and patient-specific drug evaluation at the PLACEBO lab.

Bock C, Lengauer T (2012). Managing drug resistance in cancer: Lessons from HIV therapy. Nature Reviews Cancer, 12, 494-501.

http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v12/n7/full/nrc3297.html (no digital access? A reprint is available on request)

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