Tailor thy treatment
Personalisedcancertherapyisdesignedbyidentifyingtumourbiomarkers whichcanbegeneticmaterials,proteinormetabolicprofilethatcan predictthepatient'sresponsetoaspecifictherapy Genetic/molecular
profiling actually received targeted therapies.”Besides, in some patients the therapy abruptly stops working for unknown reasons.
Martine Piccart, president of the European Society of Medical Oncology (esmo), in a patient’s guide released in 2013 admits this limitation.“Currently,we are not yet in the era of personalised oncology but in the era of stratified oncology, which means we are able to classify cancers according to critical targets against which we hope to develop effective drugs,”Piccart states.Modern technologies such as deep dna sequencing will be powerful tools in the future allowing us to identify drugable mutations,he adds.
Making of wonder drugs
At present, personalised therapies are mostly restricted to clinical trials and may take some time to get approved. Research is also under way to decode cancer biology and to find more molecular weak points in differ-
Prognostic markers Markers predictive of drug
Markers predictive of adverse events ent types of tumours to perfect personalised therapies. In recent years, a paradigm shift has also been observed in targeted therapy research wherein researchers are now increasingly focused on therapies that can trigger the immune response against cancer. The November 27, 2014 issue of the journal Nature published five studies on personalised therapies that target immune system to act against cancer.
For example,certain tumours can express a protein called PD-L1. The protein sends the immune system to hibernation when it binds to PD-1 receptor, and the cancer cells remain undetected. Targeted therapies can block either PD-L1 or PD-1 to activate the immune system.
A study published in November 2014 found that targeted therapies that block PD-1 receptors are successful in treating bladder cancer. The researchers used anti-PD-L1 antibody drug to target tumour Personlised
drugs in bladder and found high response rates from the immune system of the patients.The drug was considered a breakthrough by the US Food and Drug Administration in February this year.
Clinical trials on targeted drugs are on full-swing across the world and the key players include global pharma giants such as Novartis, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, among others.According to a report by ims Institute for Healthcare Informatics released in 2014, there are currently 374 experimental cancer drugs in mid-stage trials, and the global spending on oncology drugs is expected to reach US $100 billion in 2018.
Although personalised therapy for cancer is well known, the concept can be used for treatment of diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s that are often caused due to genetic factors.To support studies on personalised treatment for bowel cancer,asthma,hypertension and lupus, UK’s minister for life sciences, George Freeman, in January this year unveiled a US $21 million funding.That month,US President Barack Obama also announced a plan for his country to be a world leader in precision medicine.
Personalised therapy requires genetic testing which is not only time-consuming but also expensive. Not all kinds of cancer have personalised treatment options