Greg Pawelski with a view on the new head of the FDA
More and more physicians and patients are turning to individualized therapies to treat cancers. Under this approach, scientists study how an individual’s cancerous cells respond to several drugs. Doctors have learned that even when the disease is the same type, different patients’ tumors respond differently to chemotherapeutic drugs. Treatments need to be individualized based on the unique set of molecular targets produced by the patient’s tumor, and these important treatment advances will require individualized assay-testing which can improve patient survival in chemotherapy for cancer. Assay-directed chemotherapy is an individualized approach to killing cancer. It’s time to set aside empiric one-size-fits-all treatment in favor of recognizing that breast, lung, ovarian and other forms of cancer represent heterogenous diseases, where the tumors of different patients have different responses to chemotherapy. It requires individualized treatment based on testing the individual properties of each patient’s cancer.
From yesterday’s Associated Press article:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The new acting chief of the Food and Drug Administration says he will be presiding over a transformation in medicine as scientists come to understand diseases in a more detailed way that could improve doctors’ ability to treat patients.
Now,"We are discovering so much about diseases like cancer at the molecular level,"said von Eschenbach, a urologic surgeon by training. "Much of what we have done … has been based on a model of empiricism." Soon, doctors will be able to intervene with medical treatments more effectively matched to a specific patient’s illness.
Read the rest at USA Today
Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, tapped by President Bush as the temporary chief of the regulatory agency, said Sunday that discoveries about diseases at "a molecular level" will lead to a new kind of health care. Doctors treat illnesses based on how well other people have responded to a given treatment. Soon, they will develop a tailored response built around specific understandings of the patient, the treatment and the disease, he said.