'New era' of personalised cancer drugs, say doctors
| 04 Jun 2016
| NOP Bureau, New delhi

Precision medicine is one of the big themes at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Doctors say "breath-taking" advances in the understanding of tumours are being used to unlock new treatments.
But there are also concerns that patients are not getting access to the precision medicines we already have.
The premise of precision medicine is that cancers are not all the same - even those in the same tissue - so a tailored approach is needed.
It is the same approach as in football - you modify your tactics to face Barcelona, Newcastle United or Skegness Town.
DNA clues
Cancers are normal cells that have become corrupted by mutations in their DNA that leads to uncontrolled growth.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy kill everything, including healthy tissue.
The idea of precision medicine is to test every patient's tumour, find the mutations that have become essential for it to survive and then select a targeted drug to counter-act the mutation - killing the tumour.
This concept is not new. Women with breast cancer already have their tumours analysed to decide on treatment.

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