Tuesday afternoon saw a presentation by Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research on Personalized Cancer Medicine. Dr. Hudson is a physician, scholar and mentor and is also the co-founder of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Dr. Hudson started by telling us that personalized medicine is here. Rapid identification of potential medicine targets has begun and regulatory approvals of testing and medications are taking place.
Looking at a specific example of a colorectal cancer tumor study in Canada he and his team were able to better find ways in which to predict and seek preventative measures or improved screening for these illnesses. Targeting illnesses in a more precise manner improves patient health and increases efficiencies within the health system as a result.
Dr. Hudson's work has helped to maximize clinical trial access and knowledge within Ontario in order to improve patient outcomes.
In a question from the floor relating to obstacles to this clinical research, Hudson indicated that there are two key barriers. The first is a cultural barrier amongst researchers. Large scale collaboration is the solution to this barrier and would support eventual drug development.
The second barrier he noted was cost. Innovative pharmaceutical companies provide medications at no cost within the context of clinical trials and that this is part of current partnership success. However, as new screening methods within these trials emerge, his team will require new ways of accessing medications quickly. He is looking at establishing a research pharmacy which may assist in addressing this barrier.
To hear from Dr. Hudson directly, check him out here speaking about the power and the promise of genomics.