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Changing the treatment of cancer

Michigan Health

July 29, 2022

Jen A. Miller

Changing the treatment of cancer

Breakthroughs in the field of genomics are revolutionizing prevention, diagnosis and care.

In the last 20 years, the scientific community has made remarkable strides in diagnosing, treating and even curing cancer. Cancers that were considered a death sentence two generations ago are now treatable, with patients surviving for years, and some types of cancer can be cured without requiring patients to go through chemotherapy.

But the job isn’t done.

This year, 1,918,030 new cancer diagnoses and 609,360 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center are leading the charge in finding the molecular mechanisms behind cancer and working to identify and help individuals with genetic predisposition to cancer. Detailed evaluation of the genetic make-up of cancer is leading to more targeted treatments, which means longer survival and better quality of life.

At the same time, genetic testing can help identify those at greatest risk of developing cancer, enabling more interventions to prevent cancer or detect it in an earlier, more treatable phase.

Some of this groundbreaking work began in 1956, when James V. Neel, M.D., Ph.D., founded the Department of Human Genetics at U-M, which was the first department of its kind in the country.