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Unlocking the Potential of Precision Oncology:

3 Key Takeaways from Recent Precision Medicine Webinar 

Published: January 29, 2024


In a recent webinar hosted by GenomeWeb, Suzzette Arnal, PhD, senior director of precision medicine at The U.S. Oncology Network, and Emily Paul, PhD, director of clinico-genomics at Ontada, presented on the value of biomarker testing in routine clinical cancer care, the challenges faced in implementing routine clinical genomic testing and the potential of genomics and clinical data beyond the clinic. 

Precision medicine is a crucial part of delivering care in oncology, with the potential to have a profound impact on cancer care. That was one of the three key takeaways from “Unleashing the Power of Real-World Clinico-Genomic Data in Advancing Precision Oncology,” a webinar hosted by GenomeWeb in December 2023.  

During the nearly hour-long discussion, Arnal and Paul explored a variety of topics around clinico-genomic data and precision oncology. Among those topics discussed were the advantages of comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) for community oncology, the necessity of diversity in clinico-genomic data and the potential barriers to implementing precision oncology. The webinar concluded with a look at what a greater scale of testing could do to inform future precision medicine. 

In this article, explore three key takeaways from the webinar, including the ways precision oncology, genomic profiling and AI can transform cancer care, along with the challenges and barriers that could stand in the way. 

"Precision medicine is such an important part of delivering care in oncology these days."
Clinico Gen_Headshot_Suzette_300x300
Suzzette Arnal, Senior Director of Precision Medicine at The U.S. Oncology Network

Takeaway 1: Precision oncology continues to evolve in treating cancer 

In the webinar with GenomeWeb, Arnal and Paul discussed the potential and challenges of precision oncology. Precision oncology uses information about a person’s genes, proteins and environment to diagnose or treat cancer. However, while it has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment, implementing it at scale is complex and a range of barriers need to be overcome. 

“Precision medicine is such an important part of delivering care in oncology these days,” Arnal explained.  

However, there are several challenges, she added, including:   


Despite these challenges, Arnal and Paul are optimistic about the future of precision oncology. Paul said genomic data could provide a “multifaceted cycle” that could power cancer research and lead to new treatments. However, she cautioned that large-scale data networks were needed to drive this discovery. 

Takeaway 2: CGP could become standard in cancer care  

Comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) is a powerful tool in cancer treatment, but currently, not all patients receive the testing they should. Arnal highlighted the gap between patients who should be tested for biomarkers and those who actually receive testing. “We know there’s a deficiency in testing,” Arnal said. “Not all patients who should be tested for biomarkers are being tested appropriately. 

“Only about 50% of patients who were coming through our network were receiving appropriate biomarker therapy from 2018 to 2020,” she said, mentioning challenges such as gaps pre-testing, testing and post-testing. Despite these challenges, Arnal and Paul were both hopeful about the future of CGP. Paul said that as the rates of baseline comprehensive profiling grow, so too will the understanding of the disease, leading to better treatments.  

Comprehensive genomic panel testing is now recommended over single gene tests due to the increasing number of actionable biomarkers across various cancer types, for example. “We know many of the drugs that have been recently approved require biomarker testing prior to its use,” Arnal said. 

The increase in the rate of biomarker-directed clinical trials also highlights the clear and defined role of genomics in supporting and driving discovery. Arnal expressed hope that CGP would become standard of care, saying, “I have seen a tremendous increase in terms of its utilization in the last five years since 2018, and I expect to see it become really standard of care.” 

Takeaway 3: AI has the potential to transform precision oncology 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an exciting area in precision oncology, with the potential to help predict disease progression, identify biomarkers, and aid in treatment decisions. The use of AI could also potentially enhance precision oncology by providing predictive modeling and better stratification of patients based on their genomic profiles. 

However, Arnal and Paul noted that while the potential is huge, AI in precision oncology is still in its early stages. Arnal explained that her team is “starting to look at how to incorporate AI into the work we’re doing,” while Paul noted she looks forward to “the space where machine learning can really do predictive modeling.”  

Despite the excitement, Arnal acknowledged, “We are just not there yet,” but added that the healthcare community is super excited about the potential of AI in this space. It was just announced at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January 2024 that Nvidia and Amgen are partnering to build foundational genomic models. It’s great to see so many key players entering this space in a bold way. 


Watch the on-demand webinar to learn about the world of precision oncology and discover how it can transform cancer care. Ready to uncover the advantages of comprehensive genomic profiling for community oncology and learn the importance of diversity in clinico-genomic data? Schedule an introductory meeting with an expert.