In honor of National Cancer Research Month, we sat down with Dr. John Weber, MD, who is American Board of Internal Medicine certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine. He told us what we need to know about what’s happening in cancer research.
“This is an exciting time in colon cancer research,” says Dr. Weber. Researchers “continue to unravel the molecular basis of tumorigenesis,” or the study of tumors. There’s also been a push to figure out who is at a greater risk from “having a hereditary predisposition to colon cancer.” This is so important because if we can pinpoint the dangerous conditions in a family’s history, “we are better able to make a determination of those who may benefit from genetic testing.” All of that leads to more prevention.
Troy Gastroenterology is also in the mix. The research department is “involved in a multi-center study looking at important biomarkers that may be important in the development and early detection of colon cancer,” says Dr. Weber.
“The most significant breakthroughs in colon cancer research involve targeted therapy,” says Dr. Weber. Some thought this type of targeting wouldn’t be possible.
“Our medical oncology colleagues are beginning to define tumors at the molecular level and are using specific targeted precision therapy with increasing efficacy and fewer side effects,” Dr. Weber says. These drugs are allowing the medical community to offer a personalized approach to treatment as they figure out more about genetic mutations of specific tumors.
What you can do
“The general public will continue to play a crucial role in successful future colon cancer research,” says Dr. Weber. Participation in clinical trials is one huge way that regular folks can help the research process along. “By participating, patients at risk for or with colon cancer contribute significantly to our knowledge of optimal therapy,” he says.
Dr. Weber tells us that “patients with a previous history of colon cancer can also enroll in an important national colon cancer prevention trial,” that Beaumont Health Systems and the National Cancer Institute are offering.
Our physicians and staff will gladly provide individuals who are interested in available research opportunities with additional information.