Cancer Genomics

It’s all about a tumor’s DNA— that’s how precision medicine is made possible.

Learn More About Genomic Testing

The Latest InCancer Research

Cancer develops when genetic material (DNA) becomes damaged or changed. Some cancer causing genetic changes are inherited, while others come from exposure to chemicals (such as those in cigarette smoke), radiation, certain microbes or other environmental factors. Studying cancer genomics explores the differences between cancer cells and normal cells.

There’s a paradigm shift taking place: We’re moving from an organ-focused (type of cancer) approach to a gene-focused approach. Research funded by the NFCR has been focusing on DNA for years and the organization supports the up-and-coming, widespread focus on cancer genomics. This shift is already having a profound effect on the way cancer is treated.

TreatmentTargeted Therapies

As science progresses, we’re learning more about genetic changes – and many of these changes have been selected as molecular targets to develop drugs specifically aimed at them. These drugs have become powerful new anticancer therapies – targeted therapies – which generally have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy and treat cancers more effectively.

More than 400 genes are known to play a role in cancer: 50+ drugs that target genetic changes have been approved by the U.S. FDA and hundreds more are under clinical development in different stages.

Why is Genomic Testing Needed?

Genomics testing benefits before cancer treatment

Before Treatment

Genomic testing reveals the unique genomic drivers for each patient’s cancer so oncologists can prescribe drugs that specifically match the tumor. Without the molecular information provided by the genomic testing in time, the patient will be at the risk of losing precious treatment time and opportunities.

Genomic testing benefits during cancer treatment

During Treatment

During the course of treatment, some of the gene targets may change. The drugs that worked well before might lose their original power because the tumor cells develop resistance to the drugs. When this happens, genomic testing could provide critical information so the oncologist can make changes to the drug treatments accordingly. Without the genomic testing data, the oncologist won’t be able to make optimal and personalized decisions for the patient’s situation.

Genomic Testing overall benefits for cancer treatments


Genomic testing reveals the unique genomic drivers for each patient’s cancer and empowers oncologists to design and implement optimal, individualized therapies to maximize treatment success.

The Benefits of Genomic Testing

  • Patient-Specific Treatment

    Oncologists can determine the optimal treatment based on specific cancer-causing genetic changes for each patient.

  • Data Based

    Data-informed decisions maximize treatment successes.

  • Improved Care at Reduced Costs

    Without the guidance of genomic testing, physicians and patients often have to try multiple treatments before finding the right one, which adds up costs along the way. Genomic testing changes that.

  • Personal and Precise

    Oncologists can eliminate time-consuming detours down unsuccessful treatment paths and harmful side effects. Patients can begin appropriate targeted therapies earlier and, within a narrow treatment window, avoid losing precious, lifesaving time. Genomic testing makes cancer care personal and precise.

Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy, Genomic Testing


works like an atomic bomb, destroying everything in its path with the hopes of wiping out the cancer cells. It may kill most of the cancer cells but will not prevent the surviving ones from spreading.

Targeted Therapy, Genomic Testing

Targeted Therapies

act more like heat-seeking missiles, going directly after the mutated genes that may be driving the cancer. They aim to kill the cancer cells with specific cancer targets and spare the normal cells in the body.

Immuno-Oncology Therapy, Genomic Testing

Immuno Therapies

work like the general of an army. These therapies use a network of defense that’s already living inside your body—your immune system. Much like a general would train soldiers to fight, the immunotherapy trains your immune system to fight as an army against the cancer cells.

NFCR's Genomic Newsroom

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