A new “precision” cancer treatment appears to outperform traditional chemotherapy treatments. This new method is guided by genetic clues from the individual patient’s own tumor.

Patients who received the personalized treatment experienced tumor shrinkage at a rate six times greater than the normal chemotherapy treatments. This is only possible when doctors used specific genetic information that allows for targeted therapy, explained lead researcher Maria Schwaederle.

According to the analysis of nearly 350 clinical trials, patients experienced nearly double the time before the cancer resumed growing when compared to normal chemotherapy.

The overall data and conclusions of this treatment method are still considered as preliminary until the results have been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

This treatment works to aid the immune system recognize, identify, and destroy cancer cells, block cancerous-cell division, and stop the formation of blood vessels used to feed the tumors, and order apoptosis, or preprogrammed cell death.

Dr. David Hyman, a medical oncologist and director of developmental therapeutics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, explains that this study demonstrates the potential power that precision medicine has.

This procedure works as it allows for specific drugs to treat specific cancers. Unlike chemotherapy treatment which is a drug that has no relation to the tumor itself, the precision treatment on the hand, more strongly relates to the tumor and patient themselves.

Targeted therapies are used for a variety of cancers like the drug Erlotinib (Tarceva) used for lung cancer, the drug dabrafenib (Tafinlar) used for melanoma, and trastuzumab (Herceptin) for breast cancer.

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Gerry Oginski
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