As mentioned in our Emersion of Precision Medicine & 5 Things to Know About Precision Medicine blog posts, this initiative is the new manner in which to bring tailored medicine into the world. Researchers are taking on the challenge of leveraging this novel approach in order to find targeted treatments for diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Unfortunately, cancer has impacted and touched all of our lives at some point as it is one of the most common diseases in the developed world. By utilizing precision medicine, it allows us to discover targeted therapies that can be specific to an individual’s abnormal indications. This is a game charger because we are taking away the “one size fits all” approach to treatment and focusing on customization of medicines.
The NCI (National Cancer Institute) has been supportive of precision medicine since 2014. NCI has launched a series of clinical trials to support precision medicine. These trials have resulted in targeted therapies that are available to patients. As more investment continues to support this initiative, there is an expected increase in target therapies. The NCI said that “[t]argeted therapies are currently the focus of much anticancer drug development. They are a cornerstone of precision medicine, a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.”
Chemotherapy vs Target Therapies
Chemotherapy has been the traditional focal point of cancer treatment. The problem with this approach is it’s a one size fits all kind of treatment. Since the genetic profile and composition of every individual is somewhat unique, , there are all sorts of response rates and outcomes to chemotherapy. As mentioned by the NCI, “[t]argeted therapies act on specific molecular targets that are associated with cancer, whereas most standard chemotherapies act on all rapidly dividing normal and cancerous cells. Targeted therapies [also] are deliberately chosen or designed to interact with their target, whereas many standard chemotherapies were identified because they kill cells.”