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Bringing Individuality to Clinical Trials – the Responsibility of Medical Foundations?

By October 4, 2011December 18th, 2023Awareness, Science & Research

Clinical trials are showing that drugs don’t always work on every person with a specific medical condition. This is most likely due to genetic differences that make some patients less responsive to specific drugs. Understanding an individual’s genetics is likely to be a key driver in future decision making on drug selection for individual patients. However, pharmaceutical companies have not yet fully embraced the practice of integrating genetic information into clinical trials, perhaps due to increased cost or the risk of introducing yet another variable into a trial. So if the pharma companies are not advancing this research, who will do this?


The answer may well rest with medical foundations like ours. Last week, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) launched a “Personalized Medicine Initiative” – a 1,000-patient study that will track patients from multiple myeloma diagnosis through treatment, over a minimum of five years. Sequential tissue sampling will identify how a person’s molecular profile may affect his or her clinical progression and response to treatment. This is a major undertaking for a foundation, but MMRF is addressing this need as no one else is doing this type of study.  Read more in this article.


Per our 2011 NF Strategic Plan, the Children’s Tumor Foundation will launch major new neurofibromatosis initiatives in genetics/genomics in 2012 to better understand how NF can be targeted by drug therapies. The Foundation has also recently began to fund research to identify biomarkers (e.g. blood components) that can serve as a surrogate measure and early predictor of whether or not a drug is being effective in treating NF in any one person. We will be expanding our biomarkers research in 2012.