I’m a voracious reader of mysteries in my spare time. And some juncture in every story, as the detective finds himself staring at the corpse, they ask the inevitable question “Cui Bono — who benefits?” Oddly enough, this is a question that doesn’t get asked often or early enough in the drug discovery and development process.
But that’s starting to change in translational medicine. Recently, Memorial Sloan-Kettering launched an effort to identify so-called “super responders”. These are patients whose disease went into remission after being given a drug or drug combination. With the advent of low-cost whole genome- and tumor-sequencing, it’s now feasible to take a deeper look at the genomic characteristics of these super-responders in the hopes of being able to identify what makes them super-responders. Ultimately, this information would be used to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from new treatments.