In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “biography of cancer,” the author presents a thought experiment involving Atossa, the Persian queen who suffered from what was probably breast cancer around 500 B.C. The author then flashes forward to consider how Atossa’s tumor would have been treated at various points and places in history: crude medieval surgery, radical mastectomy in 1890s Baltimore, and then, by the early twentieth century, the emergence of radiation oncology and later chemotherapy.
The thought experiment’s point is clear: over the centuries between Atossa’s diagnosis and the early 1900s, our understanding of cancer changed little. The disease was considered hopeless and untreatable, its origin a mystery and each new remedy a stab in the dark.
Twelve years ago, the revelatory breakthroughs of the Human Genome Project and development of the Cancer Genome Atlas accelerated our emergence from the dark and built on earlier science to reinforce the understanding that cancer is a disease of the genome. Foundation Medicine was born out of these breakthroughs. Our founders came together with the common goal of making comprehensive genomic profiling available, accessible, and indispensable to patient care and research. They wanted to expand the power of genomic insights to provide a deeper understanding of cancer at the molecular level and bring this cutting-edge science to everyday cancer care.
During the years since, we have remained committed to empowering physicians and patients with the answers they need to make informed treatment decisions and act on them. And, at the same time, we have partnered with researchers globally to answer the toughest questions about cancer biology to help develop new treatment options.
This commitment to finding answers, empowering action, and collaborating to make precision cancer care a reality for all patients is why I’m so passionate about our new tagline: Find Answers. Take Action. Your Essential Partner in Cancer Care.
This statement reflects our mission for the past decade and serves as our guidepost as we continue pioneering innovation in cancer care. This year alone, we expect to provide critical answers to more than 150,000 patients living with cancer. And, in an effort to make genomic information more accessible globally and more impactful at the point of care, we’ve forged novel partnerships with biopharma organizations, academia, advocacy groups and health plans.
Cancer care continues to become more and more complex, driven by the incredible pace of discovery within oncology. We believe the answers comprehensive genomic profiling provides for physicians, patients, and researchers are essential in routine care and research. We care deeply about patients living with cancer today and are committed to working collaboratively across the oncology community to provide more options and better outcomes for the patients of tomorrow.