The importance of the tumour microenvironment and hypoxia in delivering a precision medicine approach to veterinary oncology

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Abstract / Description of output

Treating individual patients on the basis of specific factors, such as biomarkers, molecular signatures, phenotypes, environment and lifestyle is what differentiates the precision medicine initiative from standard treatment regimens. Although precision medicine can be applied to almost any branch of medicine, it is perhaps most easily applied to the field of oncology. Cancer is a heterogeneous disease, meaning that even though patients may be histologically diagnosed with the same cancer type, their tumours may have different molecular characteristics, genetic mutations or tumour microenvironments that can influence prognosis or treatment response. In this review, we describe what methods are currently available to clinicians that allow them to monitor key tumour microenvironmental parameters in a way that could be used to achieve precision medicine for cancer patients. We further describe exciting novel research involving the use of implantable medical devices for precision medicine, including those developed for mapping tumour microenvironment parameters (e.g. O2, pH and cancer biomarkers), delivering local drug treatments, assessing treatment responses and monitoring for recurrence and metastasis. Although these research studies have predominantly focused on and were tailored to humans, the results and concepts are equally applicable to veterinary patients. While veterinary clinical studies that have adopted a precision medicine approach are still in their infancy, there have been some exciting success stories. These have included the development of a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor for canine mast cell tumours and the production of a PCR assay to monitor the chemotherapeutic response of canine high-grade B-cell lymphomas. Although precision medicine is an exciting area of research, it currently has failed to gain significant translation into human and veterinary healthcare practices. In order to begin to address this issue, there is increasing awareness that cross-disciplinary approaches involving human and veterinary clinicians, engineers and chemists may be needed to help advance precision medicine towards its full integration into human and veterinary clinical practices
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2020


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