News Headlines Article

Cancer Treatment’s New Direction
The Wall Street Journal

Evan Johnson had battled a cold for weeks, endured occasional nosebleeds and felt so fatigued he struggled to finish his workouts at the gym. But it was the unexplained bruises and chest pain that ultimately sent the then 23-year-old senior at the University of North Dakota to the Mayo Clinic. There a genetic test revealed a particularly aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia.

That was two years ago. The harrowing roller-coaster that followed for Mr. Johnson and his family highlights new directions oncologists are taking with genetic testing to find and attack cancer. Tumors can evolve to resist treatments, and doctors are beginning to turn such setbacks into possible advantages by identifying new targets to attack as the tumors change.

Mr. Johnson’s medical team scrambled to find effective treatments against the genetic mutations driving his disease. His course involved a failed stem cell transplant, a half-dozen different drug regimens, four relapses and life-threatening side effects related to his treatment.

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