The growing role of precision and personalized medicine for cancer treatment

Technology (Singap World Sci). Sep-Dec 2018;6(3-4):79-100. doi: 10.1142/S2339547818300020. Epub 2019 Jan 11.


Cancer is a devastating disease that takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. Due to disease heterogeneity, standard treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, are effective in only a subset of the patient population. Tumors can have different underlying genetic causes and may express different proteins in one patient versus another. This inherent variability of cancer lends itself to the growing field of precision and personalized medicine (PPM). There are many ongoing efforts to acquire PPM data in order to characterize molecular differences between tumors. Some PPM products are already available to link these differences to an effective drug. It is clear that PPM cancer treatments can result in immense patient benefits, and companies and regulatory agencies have begun to recognize this. However, broader changes to the healthcare and insurance systems must be addressed if PPM is to become part of standard cancer care.

Keywords: Cancer; Cancer Treatment; Personalized Medicine; Precision Medicine.