ASCO has launched a new journal dedicated to precision oncology, JCO Precision Oncology (JCO PO). JCO PO features original clinical research, scientific reviews, and editorials on genomics.
James M. Ford, MD, the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, said JCO PO offers precision oncologists a place to publish their research for the first time within the scientific community. “There hasn’t been a dedicated academic journal [for precision oncology],” Dr. Ford said. “[JCO PO] will be a great contribution to advancing our understanding of the field.”
Dr. Ford said precision oncology can be defined as “genomic and molecular tests used to understand the genetic fingerprint of an individual’s cancer, which can then be used to design individual therapies to target it.” For example, as a medical oncologist and geneticist at Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Ford has studied how to better diagnose and treat hereditary breast and gastrointestinal cancers by sequencing DNA in representative cancer and tumor cells. He uses these sequences to identify common mutations in these cancers and then designs new drugs that target them. These kinds of targeted drugs can lead to improved outcomes for patients with cancer, even when their cancer is in a late stage.
Dr. Ford’s newest clinical trial at Stanford University is focused on sequencing DNA extracted directly from tumor mass samples and indirectly from circulating blood samples from patients with late-stage cancers. After his team finishes sequencing these samples, Dr. Ford will be able to make recommendations for the development of new drugs that target tumor-signaling pathways.
Improving the outcomes of patients with late-stage cancers is just one reason why Dr. Ford thinks a journal that collates and publicizes precision oncology research is so crucial. The platform could lead to a “revolution in next-generation DNA sequencing, which will decrease the time it takes to transform this research tool into a real clinical diagnostic used in patient care to develop new drugs,” Dr. Ford said.
He encourages oncologists to submit their research and to consider the clinical applications of their research to the practice of oncology. “In general, JCO PO is trying to look at clinical research that is cutting edge in terms of science and genetics and transfer it back to patient care,” Dr. Ford said.
JCO PO is published online as articles become available. The journal is currently accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Interested contributors can read more about JCO PO’s mission, Dr. Ford, and manuscript registration and submission guidelines at po.jco.org. ■
Reprinted and adapted with permission from the 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium Daily News.