Throughout medicine, the concept of "personalized medicine" is taking hold. In cancer, this refers to carefully planning treatments that will be helpful to a specific individual, not just treatments that are known to be generally useful. Examples include tamoxifen and the AIs for women with ER/PR positive breast cancers and herceptin for women who have her2 positive tumors. As science becomes increasingly sophisticated and there are more attempts to identify and understand the molecular characteristics of a particular tumor, there are parallel efforts to find medicines that target them. These advances are especially valuable in cancer treatment as they may mean that women can receive equally powerful medicines while avoiding some side effects from drugs that, in fact, would not be all that helpful to them.
Here is the transcript from an interview with Dr. Generosa Grana from Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey. This is from LBBC (www.lbbc.org) and can also be downloaded as a podcast.. I am giving you a brief paragraph and then a link to read the whole thing:
So, what is personalized medicine? It's the
concept that you can make specific
recommendations to patients based on their
disease, their specific disease, not just the global
disease, and actually based on their specific genetic
variation. We are individuals. We metabolize drugs
differently. We respond to drugs differently. Our
tumors are different in how they evolve and what
they respond to. The concept of personalized
medicine encompasses all of that. And with regard
to cancer - again, personalized medicine is being
pursued in every other part of medicine.