Exceptional responders: in search of the science behind the miracle cancer cures

The individual and societal impact of cancer remains a problem of Herculean proportions and one that is expected to outpace cardiovascular disease as the primary killer of humans in developed nations. With such a rise in incidence comes the need for the rapid development of novel therapies. The advent of next-generation sequencing technologies has led to a rapid expansion of the molecular profiling of patients with cancer. Such modalities are not only available at most large institutions and comprehensive cancer centers; they are also freely accessible commercially through various companies to the practicing oncologist in the community. This newfound knowledge of somatic mutations within a patient’s molecular profile, as well as a rise in the fundamental understanding of the cellular processes behind cancer cell deregulation, have spurred the rapid growth of the development of novel targeted therapies.

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