Precision medicine is one of the many breakthroughs in the medical field helping in the fight against numerous diseases. Some of the most astonishing advances have come from the revolutionary use of precision medicine in cancer treatment. Not all cancers are alike, so treatment of the disease shouldn’t be the same for everyone.
What is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine (also called personalized medicine), according to the National Cancer Institute is “an approach to patient care that allows doctors to select treatments that are most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their disease.” Through recent discoveries, we have found that not all cancers occur the same way in each patient. Doctors and scientists now know that tumors in patients have specific genetic makeups, which cause cancer to grow and spread in different ways. Precision medicine is a way to eliminate “one size fits all” chemo treatments, according to the National Institute of Health: “This approach will allow doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people.”
Applications In Treatment
We’ve seen precision medicine used in the treatment of breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, myeloid neoplasia, as well as lymphoma and leukemia. All of these cancers can be treated by looking at the genetic basis of the disease. For example, we’ve seen doctors treat breast cancer by looking at the genomic susceptibility for each patient. Some doctors have used CYP2D6 genotyping and how it links to the outcomes of treatment with tamoxifen. This is just one of the many examples of how precision medicine is advancing the treatment of cancers.
Precision medicine is not ready for use in all patients because there isn’t an approved, specialized treatment for all specific types of cancer. Researchers are making progress in cancer treatment and discovering new ways to combat this disease every day. All research from this area of study is collected in a database and shared with doctors across the world. Making this data readily available to doctors helps to advance the progress of precision medicine into the future.