In the past, cancer treatment was a one-size-fits-all approach, using surgery to remove a tumor and chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells. Unfortunately, killing cancers with chemotherapy or radiation also kills healthy cells, resulting in several side effects.
Currently, researchers can study cancer cells and understand the structure of the genes in their DNA. Almost every cell in your body shares similar genes; those in cancer cells include mutations or changes that develop into tumors.
Moreover, your cancer’s genetic changes may differ from someone else’s. In addition, scientists are aware that, genetically, an individual’s breast cancer may share more similarities with another person’s stomach tumor than with other breast cancers. This is why personalized medicine is vital.
What Is Personalized Medicine?
Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine or pharmacogenetics, is a modern method to kill cancer through information concerning your unique genetic makeup and tumor features to create a tailored treatment plan, gaining insights from studying human genes and the genetic aspects of several cancers. Researchers have used these studies to create more potent treatments, including genetic information, to develop tests for cancer and its prevention.
Types Of Personalized Cancer Medicine
The following are the types of personalized cancer medicine:
🔹 Targeted Therapy
Targeted treatments attack certain genes and proteins that develop cancer. Annually, researchers discover new targets for more cancers to manufacture and test new drugs for these targets.
Cancers with targeted treatment options for specific individuals are bladder cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, etc.
If your cancer has a specific target for which a treatment was designed, you may be qualified for targeted therapy. Your doctor will confirm it by testing a sample of tumor tissue, bone marrow, or blood. The doctor will prescribe treatment based on these results, including other factors.
Researchers can examine how your genes affect your reaction to drugs, which is known as pharmacogenomics. The impact of your genes on drugs can determine the effectiveness and safety of the drug.
For instance, you may process a particular drug more quickly than an average person, enabling an easier process in your system. Therefore, a higher dose is required for the drug to be equally effective for you as it is for an average person.
Alternatively, you might slowly process a drug more than most individuals, making it spend excess time in your bloodstream. You might experience more side effects or consider a lower dose.
Personalized Cancer Treatments Based On Genetics
The FDA has authorized several drugs that target one of these mutations, such as imatinib (Gleevec), a drug for chronic myelogenous leukemia, and the breast cancer drug trastuzumab (Herceptin).
Doctors can also learn the ineffectiveness of some drugs through tumor genetics. For instance, if your colon cancer contains a genetic mutation known as KRAS, doctors won’t recommend two common colon cancer drugs to treat it.
Several clinical centers perform tumor profiling. Your doctor examines your tumor’s genes to discover if your cancer contains specific mutations and recommends a drug tailored to the genetic mutation in your cancer cells.
For instance, a breast cancer patient will receive a genetic test to determine if Herceptin might treat it.
Profiling is also functional when other treatment options, such as chemotherapy, are inefficient. A genetic mutation might direct your medical team toward a rare drug that can treat another type of cancer.
Innovative Approaches In Personalized Cancer Research
The everyday trials for testing cancer treatments involve using individuals with the same size or location of tumors. For example, they might select only individuals with stage IV lung cancer. Since there’s personalized medicine, researchers require new methods to examine how targeted treatments work on different cancers.
Basket trials add people with several types of cancer into a single “basket” and use a precision medicine approach to discover effective treatments. Everyone involved would get similar treatment, regardless of having different cancers.
The development of new treatments requires ongoing collaboration between doctors and scientists. New drugs are produced to deal with new gene changes and tested in the clinic. As tumors keep changing, there will be more recent drugs.
Personalized medicine in cancer treatment provides tailored, precise approaches depending on a patient’s genetics, targeting specific genes and proteins. This innovative strategy reduces side effects and increases treatment options. Ongoing research and collaboration encourage its advancement, giving hope to cancer patients.