Personalized Medicine in the Treatment of Cancer Essay

Personalized Medicine in the Treatment of Cancer Essay

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Sir William Osler wittily compared the development of personalized medicine to an art form, saying that medicine would truly be a science if all humans had the same genetic makeup (Theodorescu, 24). One can easily imagine how each human started as a blank canvas and over time developed additional brushstrokes from factors such as genetic crossovers and mutations, making everyone a unique piece of art. Because no two individuals are exactly the same, there is a need for individualized treatment when people are ill, which is where personalized medicine takes on a role. Personalized medicine is a relatively new area of drug development that emerged in popularity after the sequencing of the human genome in 2003; it concentrates on getting “the right drug to the right patient, at the right time” (Deakin, 14). However, personalized medicine can be noted in past medical cases when physicians required extensive information on family histories before treating patients. While, this cannot be compared to modern personalized medicine techniques, it was an early step in exploring benefits of personalized medicine (Theodorescu, 24).
Today one of the principal areas for the application of personalized medicine is oncology; cancer cases have provided an excellent channel to investigate the abilities of personalized medicine techniques (Gilbert, 18). Conventional cancer management included “treating according to the organ or tissue in which the cancer originates” (Van’t Veer, 564). Personalized medicine involves the use of biomarkers to classify patients, and unlike conventional treatments, these biomarkers may suggest that the patient would benefit best by having no treatment at all. These biomarkers and genetic tests provide healthcare profes...

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...aitland, Michael. “Clinical trials in the era of personalized oncology.” A Cancer Journal for clinician 10.3322 (2011): 1-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov 2011.
• Rebbeck T.R. et al.(2004). Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy reduces breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers: the PROSE Study Group. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 22,1055-1062.
• US Preventive Services Task Force.(2005).Genetic risk assessment and BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility: Recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine.143(5),355-361.
• NCI Features: Towards Personalized Cancer Care. 2009. National Cancer Institute.11 Nov 2011
• College of Medicine, Biomedical Science. 2010. The Ohio State University. 13 Nov 2011 <>

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