This article from the Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts General Hospital will begin to routinely perform genetic screens on "nearly all new patients' tumors, a novel strategy designed to customize treatment." Oncologists will be looking at 110 genetic variants on 13 cancer genes in these patients to help determine the best course of treatment. "Mass. General's decision to make gene testing standard in cancer treatment - it's believed to be the first hospital in the nation to do so - represents a major step in delivering personalized medicine to the masses," the article says.
Over at Omics! Omics!, Keith Robison reacts to the news, agreeing with cancer researchers quoted in the story who say that the clinical outcome of this new program is unclear. Still, Robison calls it "an exciting push forward into personalized medicine" and says that the main benefit may be the database the hospital will assemble from all this. "MGH is also presumably planning to screen patients on both initial diagnosis and after relapses, so an increasingly rich database of mutations appearing during cancer progression will emerge," he writes.