A note on Precision Medicine

Lab Note #6
Jan 22, 2015

Precision medicine is a very cool word but in reality just a few mutations can be targeted right now.

Of a list of 29 possible driver mutations in lung cancer only 4 have approved drugs to target them. And for these 4 drugs, the response is initially good on a subset of patients for period of time.

But cancer always fight back and shows resistance to targeted therapies. At the end, tumor grows again and without alternative unless you are elegible for some phase I clinical trials. We need to understand the mechanism of resistance and try to address the problem.

Precision medicine is not bad per se, it's good. But is not enough and right now offers real solutions to few people. More research is needed to really personalize medicine.

In the meantime a lot of effort is done to set up Precision Medicine in every health and academic center. There is a lot validation to do and plus FDA wants now to regulate of the laboratory based diagnostics. It means more layers of regulations and paperwork but it does not mean that it will accelerate design of better therapeutic agents or find new drugs for the mutations that right now are not actionable.

I support precision medicine as long as it includes funding to understand what to do when targeted therapy fails. Or as long as precision medicine wants to go a step further than just the finding of driver mutations.

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