A Bio-specific Approach
Understanding Personalized Medicine Personalized
medicine uses information about a person's genes, proteins, and cellular environment
to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.1 In many
instances, the advent of personalized medicine is changing how oncologists may treat
patients by employing targeted treatment strategies based on a tumor's specific
molecular characteristics. This approach is also referred to as bio-specific medicine.
A Bio-specific Approach to Cancer Care
In some cancers, bio-specific medicine is becoming an important part of the future
of cancer care. It takes personalized medicine beyond routine patient disease assessment
into a new era, as more robust cancer management is achieved through the understanding
of individual cancer characteristics and traits.
The oncology community is increasingly embracing bio-specific medicine, an approach
based on the discovery that some tumors have unique pathologic and molecular characteristics
that may warrant different treatment strategies. By understanding specific differences
in tumor biology, researchers are identifying biomarkers for many tumor types, which
are helping them to develop treatments targeting these underlying disease pathways.
With these targeted therapies, clinicians can develop a more specific treatment
strategy for some patients that is potentially more effective based on the patient's
tumor characteristics. At the same time, physicians can try to help their patients
avoid side effects from treatments that may be less-than-optimal for their specific
tumor. The ultimate goal is to deliver the right treatments to the right patients
at the right time.
Biomarkers provide the key to this new personalized approach. The discovery of biomarkers
across multiple tumor types has unlocked new information about cancer biology by
providing critical insights to biological, pathogenic and pharmacologic responses
to treatment.2 Some tumor types may have a number
of biomarkers associated with them.3 Many of these
biomarkers may have an emerging role in providing clinicians with tools for clinical
treatment of cancer.4