Cancer will only be beaten when the genomic drivers of a person’s cancer are understood and targeted, according to Brian Tomlinson of Foundation Medicine
Tell me about yourself and your organization
Foundation Medicine is a molecular information company dedicated to transforming cancer care through a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient’s unique cancer. The company offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling assays to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with relevant targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials.
I joined Foundation Medicine after working for two national cancer patient advocacy Organizations for nearly 18 years. In my role at Foundation Medicine, I lead our external engagement efforts with our patient advocacy partners in the US.
What does personalized medicine mean to you?
Personalized medicine involves providing treatment based on the unique drivers of disease at a molecular level. In cancer, this starts with comprehensive genomic testing to understand what’s driving a patient’s cancer at a molecular level. This gives oncologists and patients the information they need to make informed treatment decisions.
We’re at a critical moment for precision medicine in cancer care. To me, it means finding the right treatment, for the right patient and the right time.
Why do you believe this topic is important?
I am motivated every day by the patients we serve now and the opportunity we have to impact cancer care in the future. Unfortunately, many patients right now do not have access to genomic testing. We have an opportunity to extend lives or even manage cancer as a chronic condition for certain patients today using these breakthrough therapies, but we can only do this when physicians understand the genomic drivers of a patients’ cancer.
As part of our efforts to expand access to genomic testing, we engage with advocacy groups and patients across indications to share scientific insights and serve as a resource on CGP with the goal of expanding overall education and awareness. I have dedicated my career to supporting cancer patients and their families. Having comprehensive testing provides access to really important information about treatment planning and shared decision making.
Why is your organization interested in participating in this multi-stakeholder collaboration? What has your organization been doing in this space?
We believe that transforming cancer care and ensuring all patients can benefit from precision medicine cannot be done alone, which is why we believe collaboration across the ecosystem is so critical. Over the past almost 10 years we’ve established deep partnerships with organizations across academia, industry, biopharma and advocacy.
What makes this collaboration unique?
I think the global focus and the comprehensive external stakeholder engagement make this collaboration a first of its kind and quite unique.
What are your ultimate expectations from the project?
We know expanding access to CGP is critical to increasing the number of patients who can benefit from precision medicine. We’re committed to working across the ecosystem to ensure all patients can benefit from the latest science at the time of care and that oncologists have the tools to make informed treatment decisions. We’re at a true turning point for precision medicine in many regions – including Europe. The healthcare ecosystem has made incredible progress in recent years but there is more work to be done.