Welcome to Season 2

The Precision Medicine Podcast: Episode 33

Dr. Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla: The Impact of Precision Medicine on Gastrointestinal Disease

03/04/20

In this episode of The Precision Medicine Podcast, we speak with Dr. Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Research for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, about how precision medicine is changing the treatment of GI cancers.

Episode Summary

 

Our conversation with Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla begins by learning how he came to lead the program at CTCA. Originally from Columbia, Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla was inspired to become the first doctor in his family after being raised in a setting where access to medical care was challenging. Further, during his medical training his brother's experience with leukemia led him to pursue a career in precision oncology.

 

Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla points out that one of the major challenges in GI cancers is that many of them, such as gallbladder cancer or even bile duct cancer, are considered rare diseases, and they also have a multitude of mutations. Because of this, being able to use precision medicine to properly sequence patients and understand different subsets of patients has been a game-changer.

 

We asked him to speak to some of the biomarkers that are making a difference for GI cancer patients, and his list was long: It included the BRCA mutation that has recently enabled many of his pancreatic cancer patients to get off of chemotherapy in exchange for maintenance therapy on Olaparib, a new drug approved for patients who have been treated with a platinum-based treatment as an induction in metastatic setting, pancreatic cancer. Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla says that it is niche-sequencing that makes using successful therapies like this possible.

 

In response, we asked if Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla if he believed more in large or small testing panels. His response was that it must be cost-effective, but that through testing there is a real opportunity to contribute to the field of precision medicine, so he is a strong advocate of testing. We went on to discuss the importance of operationalizing precision medicine through a dedicated team that is actually looking at how to use information in the most effective fashion.

 

Our discussion was both enlightening and encouraging, and we feel honored to have the chance to speak with such an expert in the area of gastrointestinal cancers. 

Listen to the entire podcast to hear more of what Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla has learned through the use of precision medicine in his own practice and discover his hidden creative talent that earned him a place on American Idol. 

Download the full transcript of the episode here (pdf).

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About Our Guest
Dr. Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla, MD, MSEd, FACP

Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla is the current Vice Chairman of the Department of Medical Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), and Chief of Medical Oncology and Medical Director of Research at CTCA - Philadelphia. He is also a dedicated practicing clinician, international speaker, and precision oncology expert with experience at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Miami, Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health.

 

The doctor’s major interest lies in innovative approaches that optimize clinical workflows and trial designs (adaptive trials, synthetic control arms, basket trials). This includes matching oncology patients to Phase I/III clinical and translational research cancer trials by integrating next-generation personalized molecular diagnostics, immunotherapy, biomarkers, previous therapies, and the patient's overall status. Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla is especially interested in optimizing treatment decision-making with special interest in Artificial Intelligence-based/machine and deep learning platforms.

 

Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla is principal and co-investigator on many Phase I/III clinical trials in several malignancies with emphasis in new targeted therapies, novel molecules, and immunotherapy tailored to a specific tumor type, its genomics, and its protein expression profiles. Because he is a passionate advocate for improved access to medical care, precision oncology, technology, wearables, medical education, blockchain, organized medicine leadership and health policy, Dr. Loaiza-Bonilla has been given many honors including the 'Top 40 Under 40' award by the Philadelphia Business Journal, the 2019 Influencers of Healthcare award, Outstanding Healthcare Provider by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor listing, AMA Foundation Leadership award, and Fellowship of the American College of Physicians.

 

He holds a Master in Medical Education (M.S. Ed.) degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has held several leadership positions in state and medical societies, including his tenure as executive board member of the Pennsylvania Society of Oncology and Hematology (ASCO State Affiliate), and his role as President of the Board of Directors of the Global Alliance for Patient Access.

Connect:

On Twitter at @DrBonillaOnc

On LinkedIn: Dr. Arturo Loaiza-Bonilla

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