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Personalizing cancer medicine

Posted: February 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm


Over 1.5 million new cancer cases were identified in the United States in 2010, and despite continued advances in cancer treatment, approximately 500,000 cancer-related deaths occurred in the same year (1). For a long time, cancer therapies were a one-size-fits-all, depending on the cancer type. In recent years however, the need has emerged to develop a more enlightened paradigm in which treatments are better tailored towards the individual uniqueness of the cancer (2).

Personalized Medicine is a catch phrase that reflects the current understanding that no two patients are alike. The primary goal of personalized medicine is to develop patient-specific treatments that can hopefully reduce unnecessary side effects as well as the overall cost of cancer care by using therapies that are most likely to be effective in the population that is most likely to benefit (3).

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