Making Medicine Personal . . . Again

Mike Berens, Ph.D.In the past 15 years, medical science has drastically expanded the boundaries of treatment for many diseases. Many of those advances are traced to the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, which serves as a frame of reference for doctors studying how different diseases alter a patient's genetic structure.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4,  we’ll learn how that knowledge is being used to detect and treat cancer, when Michael Berens, Ph. D., talks about the work being done at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an Arizona-based, nonprofit, medical-research institute and a leader in the field of genomic research.                                                       

At TGen, scientists are studying how effective specific cancer treatments are on specific genetic changes, opening the door to designing individual protocols for cancer patients, based on their genetic mutations. Rather than treating all patients with a particular cancer using the same course of treatment, drug or other therapies may be prescribed on a patient-by-patient basis, based on the patient's genetic bio-markers.

More recently, as understanding of the genetic events that lead to cancer grows, TGen scientists are studying how genetic changes affect an individual’s risk for developing cancer. Progress in this pursuit may lead to exquisitely sensitive early detection, and possible prevention strategies.

Berens will also discuss some of the most recent strategies being used to understand the inner workings of cancer and ways to defeat the disease.

Berens, a professor and director of TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division, is also deputy director of research resources. His research studies how cancer spreads, with a particular focus on glioblastoma (a lethal form of brain cancer.) TGen researchers are using genomic profiling for treatment planning in cancer patients, often referred to as precision medicine. 

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater. 

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