The Revolutionary Advent Of Precision Medicine In Cancer Treatment

Cancer is one of the most dreaded ailments ever to impact a human being. Here we discuss precision medicine in cancer treatment and the changes underway

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February 23, 2019
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In layman terms, cancer is a condition in which there is an abnormal growth of cells that generate in one particular body part and spread rapidly in the other parts of the body. If detected at early stages, it is curable. The general symptoms of this ailment are extreme lengthy bouts of cough, weight loss, the formation of lumps, change in the bowel movement and abnormal bleeding. There are about 100 types of cancer. While some are curable, for others, medicinal research for them is still on.

Current scenario of Precision Medicine in cancer treatment

In today times, health care is such a crisis that cannot be ignored because it is costly, undependable and mostly has one solution for many an ailment. The solution to this is a personalized, durable, preventative and active medicine, which in the present scenario, is called Precision medicine.

In the present times, a patient suffering from cancer is subjected to an elaborate series of tests that may determine the grade, extent and the stage of his cancer. The reports of these become a deciding factor for the panel of oncologists to decide the further course of treatment for the patient.

The treatment options usually compromise of hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, surgery or chemotherapy surgery. A single or combination of these may be prescribed to the patient based on his health conditions. Research says that certain genetic cell changes are the main reason for the occurrence of cancer. Nevertheless, not all patients go through genetic testing that identifies the type of DNA cell changes.

Generally, patients are made to undergo a number of cycles of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, surgery is the last option. These modes of treatment are followed for the removal of the tumour and the close by tissues. The doctors usually follow a common and standardized approach for basic cancer treatment.

Precision Medicine ? An Exemplary Treatment Option

Interestingly, the future will not remain the same. The treatments are expected to be radically more personalized, taking into consideration the actual genetic changes in each type of cancer. There are many advancements happening in the molecular biology field, extensive genetic tests will help doctors to directly target the concerned changes.

Thus, a bespoke treatment plan can be made for each patient, which can lessen the chemotherapy rounds for the affected patients. Hence, there are great chances that precision medicine will gather much popularity among oncologists, worldwide. The FDA has already approved some of the drugs that directly hit the targeted cells.

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Use of Precision Medicine

It may be noted that although the term Precision Medicine is a new one in the current medical scenario, yet, it is a fact that it has been prevalent for many years now. This medicine expected to improve more or less, all aspects of healthcare and health.

Precision medicines especially focus on cancer and provide value in these areas of diagnosis and cure

  1. Figuring out effective treatment for the cancer patient
  2. Avoiding unnecessary treatment procedures for the same
  3. Avoiding unnecessary trauma, side effects and further complications
  4. Zeroing people who may be more responsive to a particular treatment
  5. Encourage therapies that may target specific tumour cells
  6. Diagnosis of cancer and its treatment
  7. Detecting and preventing genetic ailments.
  8. Medicinal suitability

Technologies supporting Precision Medicine

When it comes to the way patients are treated in the present times, Precision oncology has drastically changed the scenario.  This, along with the latest technologies in the medical field, has definitely made the journey easier and convenient.  Here, the two main promising technologies are discussed that largely support precision medicine in cancer treatment:

  1. CRISPR/CASs Technology

This is also called the gene editing technology. The technology allows the deletion, insertion and exchange of the DNA sequences. The basic difference between the use of this technology and spontaneous mutation is that in context with the former one, the exchange of the genetic material takes place in a controlled environment.  Thus, this technique is helpful in creating models of animals that can successfully mimic the genetic changes in cancer patients.  The study of the same makes the scientists working on it, able to figure out the drugs that are more likely to benefit the patients.

  1. Cryo-electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM)

This is a special type of transmission EM actually examines the samples at extremely low or cryogenic temperatures.  This process helps the viruses and proteins to freeze which ultimately help the researchers to closely study the biological events at an atomic level and their expected results in the resistance and responsiveness of the drug and the genetic changes in it.

A Glimpse at the Efficacy

Multiple iterations of research are going on regarding the effectiveness of precision medicine in various specialities. One such research conducted by the University of California actually concluded that precision medicine positively prolongs remission rates and at the same time improve the health of the patient.

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In addition to this, it was also observed that the patients treated with this medicine remained ailment free for almost five to seven months which is definitely more as compared to the patients who gave the medicines a miss. The other areas that show the effectiveness of the precision medicines are

  1. The total health care system including the patients are benefitted
  2. Reduction in chemotherapy
  3. Savings in annual health care expenses
  4. Lessen the number of occurring strokes

Precision Medicine ?The Future Looks Bright

Many critics around the world criticize the concept of Precision medicines stating that these are overhyped and are fit to be downgraded. But the fact of the matter remains that the future prospects of these medicines cannot be ignored or underestimated.

With this new and novel innovation in the present state of technology, sound software and algorithms are created that can actually be used for map mutations thus using them in the different and fast treatment techniques.

Thus, technology is definitely good news for the patients of cancer and is expected to bring in many positive changes in the treatment process as far as cancer patients are concerned.

Outcomes & Cutting Costs

The term Precision medicine might still be foreign for general people. However, it is gradually making its presence when it comes to outcomes and cutting costs, especially for cancer patients.

A typical precision oncology program organized by the Intermountain Healthcare saw a saving of  $733 per week for one patient where the survival rates improved for patients who went in for targeted therapies.

To conclude

It is an accepted and known fact that cancer is one of the most deadly and frightening diseases that has its presence in the life of humankind. It is equally true that the treatment tends to be exorbitant and complicated. It is here that Precision Medicine shows its immense potential to add a lot of value in a person?s fight against cancer. To add on this, a lot of research in this field has already been done and there is still a lot to be achieved more. We hope that this form of cancer treatments finds wider acceptance and higher success rates.