Tailor-Made Cancer Treatments Being Sought

February 17, 2009

US (ChattahBox) – New genetic tests are being recommended by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in order to tailor make cancer treatments that will eliminate the side effects, cost, and guesswork of current cancer drugs.

The measure is being taken after it has been found that many drugs only work on 40 – 50% of patients, forcing the others to suffer through painful side effects, and spend tens of thousands of dollars on medications needlessly.

However, there is some debate about which tests should be used, and which should be left out.

“A bad test is as dangerous to a patient as a bad drug,” Dr. Richard Schilsky, ASCO president warned.

“The tricky part is to figure out which of those genetic differences are clinically important and which are just variations that exist.”

One test already approved is that everyone with advanced colon cancer now is supposed to get a genetic test before taking two of the leading treatments. It’s a major change adopted by oncologists last month after studies found that pricey drugs, Erbitux and Vectibix, won’t work in 40 percent of patients. Scientists are furiously testing similar genetically tailored care in breast and lung cancer.


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