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New tool uses ‘drug spillover’ to match cancer patients with treatments

Targeted therapies attack a cancer’s genetic sensitivities. However, it can be difficult to discover the genetics driving a patient’s cancer, and the effects of drugs designed to target a genetic abnormality often go beyond their intended target alone. The result is threefold: sometimes a drug is prescribed to treat a target that proves to be irrelevant to the disease, sometimes an existing drug could be used to treat a cancer for which there is no approved targeted therapy, and sometimes a combination of targeted treatments could be used to simultaneously silence more than one genetic cause of a patient’s cancer.

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