Mardis makes Discover’s list of top 2013 stories

Elaine Mardis, co-director of The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is featured in Discover magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2013,” for her pioneering work in cancer genomics. Using the latest genome sequencing technology, she aims to transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Mardis, PhD, and her Washington University colleagues broke new ground in 2008 when they decoded the genome of a cancer patient’s tumor and identified the mutations at the root of that patient’s disease. Since then, Mardis’ research has provided further evidence that genome sequencing can identify errors in the DNA of tumor cells that can be targeted by existing drugs.

In the January/February 2014 double issue of Discover, Mardis, a “self-professed tech geek,” offers her vision of the future of cancer medicine.

She predicts that genome sequencing will become more common for cancer patients. The resulting information, she said, will be used to refine a patient’s diagnosis and to select the best treatment based on the unique genetic makeup of a patient’s tumor. These targeted treatments may deliver better outcomes for cancer patients with fewer side effects.

“The days of one-size-fits-all therapeutics will be gone,” Mardis told Discover.