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Personalized Cancer Care at the UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health

May 22, 2014

Traditionally, many forms of cancer have been treated according to where the tumor is found in the body. While this “one-size-fits-all” approach to cancer care has been prevalent for many years, it is typically not the best course of treatment for many patients. Thanks to advances in medical research, our doctors are now able to personalize cancer treatments specifically to the genetic makeup of each tumor, resulting in higher quality care and better outcomes for patients.

Personalized cancer care is guided by an understanding of how and why the cancer came to be. This unique approach typically involves examining a genetic mutation or a missing piece of genetic material that is specific to the patient's tumor.

Many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies already offer a growing number of medications that treat these genetic defects, though many were initially developed for other purposes. With personalized cancer care, the key is to tailor the right medicine to the specific defect or mutation that a patient has. These biologic drugs have been shown to be highly effective, in part because they affect only the biological abnormality found in cancer cells.

For example, several patients with lung cancer might receive the same type of chemotherapy over a period of months or years. This treatment ravages the body by attacking all of a patient’s cells, instead of only the ones affected by cancer. Personalized cancer care, on the other hand, tailors medical treatments to the patient’s personal profile and set of specific needs. This allows for highly targeted therapies that can increase the chance of curing the patient while reducing the side effects.

This breakthrough treatment approach has been adopted at some of the most highly regarded clinics in the country, and it is the standard of care at the UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health.

Through a new collaboration with University of Florida Health, we have realized our goal of offering personalized cancer care to thousands of patients throughout Central Florida. On December 16, 2013, UF Health and Orlando Health formally announced the UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health. Orlando Health’s staff of 55 full-time oncologists combined with UF Health’s expertise in genomics and tissue banking make the new partnership an excellent fit.

Together, we are achieving something that neither of us has yet done alone. This revolutionary collaboration will enable cancer patients to receive a biopsy, genetic analysis testing and highly personalized treatment that is tailored specifically to their tumor—all within the same facility.

Here at our Cancer Center, it is our vision to provide treatment options for patients who have been told they have none. Our goal is nothing less than to change the way cancer is treated in the state of Florida.

If you would like to learn more about the UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health or request an appointment with one of our qualified oncologists, click here.