When using over-the-counter medications for treating headaches (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen), one will usually work better for one patient and another for another patient. There is just something unique about us that makes one medication work better than others.The reasons for differences in drug potency partly lie in proteins that make up all living things. Differences in our proteins and the varied reactions of those proteins to different medications are the reason for individualized medicine in cancer detection and treatment. "Personalized medicine is critical to improving outcomes of patients with cancer," said Elias Anaissie, M.D., professor of medicine in the UAMS College of Medicine and director of the Division of Supportive Care in the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy.This means that the old nomenclature describing the cancer based on its location is no longer accurate. For example, some breast cancer patients may not respond to chemotherapy treatments used for most breast cancer people due to genetic alterations in their tumor that are identical to those seen in patients with colon cancer. In theory, the treatment that works best in colon cancer patients would work best for these breast cancer patients. Also, personalized medicine offers treatments with fewer side effects.Therefore, in order to develop this personalized approach to cancer therapy, we need to examine the molecular and/or proteomic profile of the patient's cancer and employ more effective therapies for each patient. When appropriate, Dr. Hubbard will recommend specific testing for the identification of your cancer genetic fingerprint, how it differs from a healthy donor, or how the proteins changed from a sample taken at the time of the cancer diagnosis to a sample at the time of a relapse. If the cancer fingerprint can be identified, then targeted treatments can be developed. Such targeted treatments are likely to result in improved survival and fewer side effects because agents that are known to be ineffective are avoided. Thanks to the gigantic progress made in science, personalized cancer therapy has become a reality in our daily practice.
Personalised Cancer Testing Can Help
We recommend general assays for Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC) and for specific cancers, including breast, colorectal, prostate, malignant melanoma, sarcomas, etc. CTC are breakaway cells from a primary cancer site which enter the blood stream and can circulate with the potential to spread the disease to distant organs. These cells can be isolated and identified, and there is growing interest in their detection for the following purposes:
- Early detection and diagnosis of new cancers
- Chemosensitivity testing for personalised chemotherapy and natural remedy recommendations for best treatment outcome
- Monitoring existing cancers
- Prognosis – providing information about the risk of recurrence of a current or old cancer
Who are these tests for?
These tests are for people who:
- Want to actively engage in reducing their risk of developing cancer in the future
- Have increased risk of cancer e.g. due to family history or lifestyle/environmental issues and who want the opportunity to engage in a screening programme for early detection and diagnosis.
- Having a current diagnosis of cancer who want more information about treatment options for them as an individual, including natural treatments.
Chemosensitivity testing offers the possibility to personalize one's cancer therapy, by identifying those treatments which may work best for an individual’s cancer. Chemosensitivity testing enabels us to study the individual’s cancer cells in the laboratory to see which drugs demonstrate the best response. It provides guidance for best chemotherapy and complementary and alternative treatments.