Office of Research & Development

VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Chronic Disease Care | Table of Contents: Spring 2016 |

New Initiatives

VA Precision Oncology Program to be expanded nationally


Ribbon diagram of cancer mutations.
Ribbon diagram of cancer mutations. (Image courtesy of National Library of Medicine)

Ribbon diagram of cancer mutations. (Image courtesy of National Library of Medicine)

In 2015, VA's New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) and the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center instituted the Precision Oncology Program, or POP, to help Veterans who have been newly diagnosed with non-small cell lung center.

Here's how the program works: As Veterans are diagnosed, VA physicians take a specimen of their tumor and send it to qualified laboratories for targeted genomic sequencing, a process that determines the DNA sequence of genes that are considered important in lung cancer. The sequencing identifies specific mutations, or changes, that are causing the lung cancer to grow, allowing the patient to benefit from drugs that are targeted to those mutations, and to take part in clinical trials of new drugs targeted toward the mutations.

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin can be seen to Vice President Joe Biden's left in this photo from a National Cancer Moonshot meeting earlier in 2016. <em>(Photo courtesy of the White House)</em>
VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin can be seen to Vice President Joe Biden's left in this photo from a National Cancer Moonshot meeting earlier in 2016. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin can be seen to Vice President Joe Biden's left in this photo from a National Cancer Moonshot meeting earlier in 2016. (Photo courtesy of the White House)

The program, which began in VISN 1, is now available to all VA facilities nationwide. Along with this, the program will now receive funding from VA's Cooperative Studies Program to conduct precision oncology trials.

According to a recent fact sheet from the White House on the new National Cancer Moonshot initiative, VA's POP "is paving the way for incorporating the results of genetic diagnostic testing to customize medical decision making and treatment for individual patients with cancer."

The National Cancer Moonshot initiative was announced by President Obama in his 2016 State of the Union Address, with the goal of eliminating cancer. Among other actions in support of this initiative, VA is increasing its investment in cancer research, funding centers of excellence focused on specific cancers, and conducting large longitudinal studies to help determine risk factors and enhance treatment.


Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.