No More Chemotherapy for Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy will soon be obsolete, hoping British scientists who are looking at our genes to find a more effective remedy to combat cancer. Those scientists are working on a project that would costsseveral million pounds, which well appreciated by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Some British Organizations of health, such as the Health Department and the Medical Research Council, have launched a project to isolate the genes responsible for the development of cancer and certain rare diseases. The question you may now ask is what would be the benefits of using genetic treatments in fighting cancer?

According those scientists, such as Sobol Hagay physician and professor of university,Conventional cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, are not able to specifically target cancer cells. They destroy indiscriminately cells to reproducer rapidly, including cancer cells, which explain some of the side effects cancer patients experience when undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

As the cancer cells spread from the acquisition of new characteristics, particularly at the genetic level, the goal is to identify specific alterations of tumor cells to develop new therapeutic approaches and achieve customized. The first type of targeted therapy is relatively old since it is hormone therapy. The presence of estrogen hormone rectors on the surface of cancer cells, enables, for example in the cases of breast cancer, to give an anti-estrogenic treatment. Since then, thanks to advances in genetic other specific markers have been identified, which has enriched our therapeutic arsenal. But it is still limited and there is still much to do.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister praised the project, saying it will “unlock the power of DNA” to deliver to cancer patients “better analysis and better drugs.”  Are we heading towards a more personal medicine with this technology?

Yes, the current project is very ambitious and aims to adapt treatment based no more on a limited number of genetic alterations, but in a much larger combination of parameters based on the study of the entire tumor genome (genetic material of an organism). The prospects are huge.

According to Scientists who are working on the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, chemotherapy will be obsolete in 20 years thanks to the actions of genes that will be made ​​possible. How genetic treatments could replace chemotherapy?

The advantage of this approach is that in theory one can customize treatment based on the situation for each person. In reality it is much more complex than it seems and there are several challenges. First interpret genetic variations and determine whether they have a role in the cancer process, and if so which one. Then be able to predict the result of a very large number of changes across the tumor as a whole genome. If the tools for analyzing molecular biology have evolved considerably, we still lack the computer skills to process information produced. But things are moving so fast, it is not impossible that in 20 years the treatment of cancer will no longer resemble what we know today.

The first genome was isolated and identified in 2003 after three years of work that cost more than 2 billion dollars. Today the same procedure is achievable in two days for about USD 2,000. If the project proves to conclude, after how long can he be accessible to larger numbers?

The scientific objective is quite realistic and the results potentially useful in clinical practice will certainly be available in the coming years. The real problem is not at the level of analysis but the treatment. It will be years before designing new drugs based on scientific data and perform the necessary clinical trials before marketing to ensure their effectiveness and safety.

In addition, there is an economic problem. Design a treatment is very expensive, and themanufacturers must have a market for a return on their investment. The risk of extreme personalized treatment is that economic efficiency is not at the rendezvous. What other applications might find this research on the genome of hundreds of patients? What other patients might benefit?

The range of possibilities is very wide: degenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases, to name a few. Furthermore, it will be possible to combine and optimize genomic analysis and treatment not only at the pathological tissue, as in the case of cancer, but also for that of the individual himself. In short, geneticists may be strongly busy in the coming years…

Leave a Reply