Sue Friedman on Targeted Therapies and Knowing Family History of Cancer

Genetic testing and understanding family history of cancer is important because more and more targeted therapies are coming out that are designed to work with specific mutations or inherited forms of mutations, said Sue Friedman, DVM, executive director of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.

Why is it important for people to know more about genetic testing, especially those with a family history of cancer?
There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to know this information, and one of the things that’s been exciting that’s coming out of this [2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting], but also other conferences over the years, have been these new agents, known as PARP [poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase] inhibitors, that are really targeted therapies and they were designed specifically with BRCA mutations, although now they’re looking at how they work in other mutations, as well.

And, so right now, these agents are approved for people with mutations and in some cases without mutations, for ovarian cancer, metastatic breast cancer. We’re really excited because there’s some data presented here about treated in pancreatic cancer in patients with inherited mutations. These studies are particularly exciting to FORCE, because we were part of the efforts to recruit patients and accrue for these clinical trials. So, watching the data mature and be presented and watching that they’re every promising and hopeful is very exciting to us and it allows us to go back to the community and share that hopeful information with them.
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