Studies assess genetics, modified treatment to improve outcomes, reduce toxicity

Research identifying genetic factors that affect survival of patients with blood cancers and evaluating the effectiveness of modified treatment strategies to improve outcomes while reducing toxicity will be presented today at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

While the cancer research community has seen many significant therapeutic advances over the last decade, only recently have investigators identified how patients' individual influences their short- and long-term response to therapy, demonstrating that while the disease may respond positively to therapy, the patient may not. Current studies take these insights a step further, examining specific patient subpopulations to determine their risk for negative outcomes and whether early or treatment adjustments may help avoid treatment-related toxicity.

"Data presented today offer important insights into how and why patients respond to treatment," said William G. Woods, MD, moderator of the press conference, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Director, and the Daniel P. Amos Children's Chair of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "Findings from these studies help further support the notion of one day personalizing to the individual, rather than to the disease, to improve survival and reduce toxicity."

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