Approaches to modernize the combination drug development paradigm

Daphne Day, Lillian L. Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advances in genomic sequencing and omics-based capabilities are uncovering tremendous therapeutic opportunities and rapidly transforming the field of cancer medicine. Molecularly targeted agents aim to exploit key tumor-specific vulnerabilities such as oncogenic or non-oncogenic addiction and synthetic lethality. Additionally, immunotherapies targeting the host immune system are proving to be another promising and complementary approach. Owing to substantial tumor genomic and immunologic complexities, combination strategies are likely to be required to adequately disrupt intricate molecular interactions and provide meaningful long-term benefit to patients. To optimize the therapeutic success and application of combination therapies, systematic scientific discovery will need to be coupled with novel and efficient clinical trial approaches. Indeed, a paradigm shift is required to drive precision medicine forward, from the traditional "drug-centric" model of clinical development in pursuit of small incremental benefits in large heterogeneous groups of patients, to a "strategy-centric" model to provide customized transformative treatments in molecularly stratified subsets of patients or even in individual patients. Crucially, to combat the numerous challenges facing combination drug development-including our growing but incomplete understanding of tumor biology, technical and informatics limitations, and escalating financial costs-aligned goals and multidisciplinary collaboration are imperative to collectively harness knowledge and fuel continual innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Number of pages14
JournalGenome Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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