In recent years, we have witnessed impressive advancements in genetic optimization of drug therapy. Healthcare providers can now tailor drug therapy to a patient’s personal genetic profile, to help increase the efficiency of treatment for severe diseases, and especially cancer.
Personalized medicine is mostly implemented in breast cancer treatment but can also help treat other types of cancer such as Leukemia, and certain inflammatory diseases.
Pharmacogenetics – matching drugs to gene mutations
Cancer is caused by genetic mutations in various body tissues, which lead to increased cell division and create tumors.
These mutations usually occur sporadically or after exposure to carcinogens and lead to an uncontrolled cell division cycle. Drug therapy that targets this mutation-related mechanism can greatly improve prognosis.
However, chemotherapy that does not match the specific gene mutation will not produce good results and decrease survival rate.
How is genetic optimization performed?
After a cancer diagnosis, physicians perform a biopsy or surgery for removing cancer tissue. This tissue sample can be genetically tested to identify known gene mutations. Drug therapy can be adjusted according to the detected mutations.
Other physical factors also affect tumors and the body’s reaction to therapy. For this reason, comprehensive genetic counselling is performed to choose the most efficient treatment.
Personalized medicine and breast cancer
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women – 1 in every 9 women will develop this disease. Despite efforts for early diagnosis and genetic screening, in many cases the disease is diagnosed in its advanced stages which requires systemic therapy using chemotherapy.
Innovative genetic testing can now detect genetic mutations in the cancer cells and help optimize and personalize treatment. This test, known as Oncotype, analyzed tumors and classifies them according to genetic variations, this helps determine the most efficient form of therapy.
In addition to treatment optimization, this test helps determine prognosis according to the type of gene mutation.
Pharmacogenomics and other malignancies
Personalized medicine can be used to help optimize drug therapy in other types of cancer:
Leukemia – leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow cells that causes malignant blood cells. Detecting relevant gene mutations in cancer cells during treatment can help choose suitable drug therapy.
Colon cancer – colon cancer (or colorectal cancer) is a common type of cancer that usually required chemotherapy. Identifying genetic mutations in the cancer tissue can help djust chemotherapy and make it more effective.
One of the most important facets of cancer treatment is drug therapy. On the one hand, drug dosage that is too high may lead to dangerous side effects, and on the other hand, dosage that is too low may not affect the disease.