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Precision Oncology

Cancer was the reason behind the deaths of about 10 million people in 2020 and is presently the leading cause of death globally, according to WHO.

Precision Oncology is the new best weapon for a strenuous fight against cancer for most patients.

It is a technique that involves the study of the genetic makeup and molecular characteristics of cancer tumors in different patients. It is the molecular profiling of tumors to find targetable alterations, it is rapidly developing and has entered the mainstream of clinical practice.

One of the most beneficial contributions of precision oncology is that it leads to the creation of a much more elaborate, decisive, and most importantly personalized treatment plan for most patients due to the extensive study in regards to their tumor.

It studies genetic mutations, deletions and amplifications or rearrangements, and other genetic abnormalities and causes. Each person's cancer is unique to them, thus personalized treatments are the need of the hour. Such technology studies the changes in cells that may be the cause of the origin or growth of cancer.

Precision Oncology is primarily targeted exceedingly against Chemotherapy or other general treatments because it causes lesser harm to healthy cells and has reduced side effects. After discovering what gene mutations are actually driving the patient's cancer, experts can decide upon a Target therapy.

Target Therapy consists of target drugs that leave your healthy cells alone and attack cells causing genetic abnormalities and further cancer growth. This produces higher survival rates than standard chemotherapy and radiation.

In this way, precision oncology determines the driver of cancer and using targeted therapies that are less invasive and cause lesser side effects, helps in treatment substantially.

No two people have had the exact same mutations driving their cancer.

Each patient requires a unique combination of advanced targeted therapies and nutraceuticals – utilized in a certain order – in addition to other treatment interventions.

There are limitations that arise in precision medicine. One recent review predicted that genomics-based precision medicine may only benefit 1.5% of cancer patients.

There are several reasons to account for this meager number. After genetic testing, depending on the abnormality identified, there is not always a therapeutic option.

In addition, even if a targeted drug is available, patients usually have multiple genetic abnormalities and therefore targeting only one of these pathways is often not sufficient for a durable therapeutic response. Along those lines, it is also not always obvious which driver mutation should be targeted if multiple pathways are identified.

Cancer is a very complex disease, which has been slowly forming for years, sometimes decades, and also has the ability to evolve over time in response to therapy, so it is likely that a multi-faceted approach is necessary.

"Precision oncology is the evolving understanding of how cancers develop on a genomic level and our ability to develop drugs that hone in on those targets – ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.”

-Novartis Oncology

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