An Exciting Time for Cancer Therapies

Doctors shift to personalized care as more effective cancer treatments become available

(RxWiki News) Thanks to developments in cancer biology, patients may soon be able to receive better, more personalized treatments.

Experts at the Cancer Biology for Clinicians Symposium organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Nice, France, cautioned that governments, pharmaceutical companies and doctors need to adapt the way drugs are developed in order for this to happen.

"Cancer therapy is arguably at the most exciting time in its history," said José Baselga, from MGH Cancer Center in Boston, USA, co-chair of the symposium and ESMO Past-President.

According to Baselga, therapies for the set of diseases are at the confluence of two new movements: personalized medicine and the use of new molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics that exploit the tumor's genetic and molecular signature.

The recent shift has arrived as scientists have discovered that common tumors such as breast cancer are in fact a mixture of several disease types with distinct molecular features.

Developments such as these have led to more personalized treatment options, which are expected for many more cancer types, according to Fabrice André, an ESMO spokesperson from Institut Gustave Roussy, France, who co-chaired a session at the symposium.

"If we want to facilitate the implementation of this kind of personalized medicine, then we urgently need to develop new strategies for cancer drug development," said Andre.

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Review Date: 
November 29, 2010