Dr Michael Thompson: The Role of Precision Medicine in the Community Setting
Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, FASCO, Aurora Advanced Healthcare, discusses the role precision medicine currently plays in the community setting and how that role differs from that in an academic medical center.
What role does precision medicine currently play in the community setting?
I just got done giving a talk with Lora Jane Black, [RN, MPH, OCN, CCRP, Sanford Research]; and Edward S. Kim, [MD, Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health], about community oncology and precision medicine, and, as anywhere, most patients are treated in the community and understanding precision medicine is important.
There are some unique barriers, including geographic access, infrastructure, and things like that, but every physician needs to know about precision medicine as it’s becoming both standard of care, as well as emerging targets that we can try to work on and as are being discussed widely at ASCO. So, this is important information for every oncologist, but it’s increasingly becoming important in the community setting.
Does this role differ from that in an academic medical center?
Many of the issues are the same, whether you’re at an academic medical center or at the community sites. Some community sites may have people that treat multiple tumor types and aren’t specializing in 1 area, where the information is exploding in every area of cancer. There may be a greater need for a systemized, centralized way to approach all this molecular information versus if you’re only doing 1 cancer. If you’re only doing brain cancers, you may know the mutations that are most important and the information more than someone who’s treating every type of cancer available. That’s why we have been talking about how do you set up a whole system to track that.
But even in the university settings, that’s still a need. One of the limitations is actually genetic counselors. There’s not enough to go around, and that’s 1 of the huge areas of need, including doing telemedicine or having clinical trials that bring in genetic counseling for around the whole country.