Many cancers are treated with radiation therapy. Some cancers types are especially hard to treat. One type of cancer that affects the lungs and throat is only cured in about half of cases. Even when drug treatments are added to the radiation therapy, cure rates are not much improved. Also, adding drugs to radiation therapy can make the treatment hard for patients to tolerate. New treatment approaches are needed for these patients.
One new approach that is showing promising results is to give refined treatments that are more precisely targeted to each patient’s cancer. This approach is called Precision Medicine. Precision Medicine has not been used much for the cancer type that affects the lungs and throat. Also, Precision Medicine has not yet been used for radiation therapy. Instead, the standard treatment for these patients continues to be a one-size-fits-all approach.
We expect that the standard one-size-fits-all treatment approach could be replaced by Precision Medicine. The objective of our research is to develop new Precision Medicine approaches for the cancer type that affects the lungs and throat for use with radiation therapy. These new treatments could someday lead to higher cure rates and tolerability of treatment. If successful, our research will lead to new clinical trials that will test these new treatment approaches in cancer patients.