Biomarker tests for molecularly targeted therapies: Laying the foundation and fulfilling the dream

  • Lyman G
  • Moses H
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Precision medicine focuses on the management of individual patients on the basis of biomarkers and other distinguishing characteristics, with the overarching objective of improving clinical outcomes. The rapid proliferation of biomarker tests and targeted therapies has revolutionized patient care in a variety of serious disorders. Targeted cancer therapies interrupt oncogenic molecular pathways driven by mutations, overexpression, or translocation of specific genes. However, there is concern that the emergence of large-scale genomic data is exceeding our capacity to appropriately analyze and interpret the results.In 2014, the Institute of Medicine convened the Committee on Policy Issues in the Clinical Development and Use of Biomarkers for Molecularly Targeted Therapies. This committee conducted a study to develop recommendations to address diverse and interconnected development, regulatory, clinical practice, and reimbursement issues. The committee conducted an extensive search of the relevant literature and invited testimony from a wide range of experts in the field. The final report of the committee's study and deliberations was released on March 4, 2016, focusing on ways to achieve 10 goals to further advance the development and appropriate clinical use of biomarker tests for molecularly targeted therapies.This article presents an overview of the committee's study and resulting recommendations, which cover establishment of clinical utility, regulatory oversight, coverage and reimbursement, health system data integration, as well as education and access. The committee's recommendations presented and discussed here are fundamentally grounded in the understanding that, when properly validated and appropriately implemented, these assays and corresponding therapies hold considerable promise to enhance the quality of patient care and improve meaningful clinical outcomes.

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