Breast Cancer Study - the most revolutionary in the field
A recent study in Nature has analysed an enormous number of samples of breast cancer tissue looking at genetics to classify them into specific categories. The specific categories correlate to prognosis and treatment responses. The impact of this study will be felt in a only a few years time when patients are provided with more accurate information about their breast cancer prognosis and can be given treatments that are better suited to their tumour.
There are currently a large number of different therapy options for breast cancer, the most well-known being herceptin, but numerous others exist, such as T-DM 1, Avastin, Taxol, and xeloda (more information about these drugs can be found here). However, these drugs can have very different success rates in different patients.
This study demonstrates the need for personalised medicine and also how aspects of it are achievable. By grouping genotypes of tumours, treatment can be personalised based on the characteristics of that group. Personalisation does not necessarily mean tailored differently to each different person – at the moment that is a very long way off. The level of personalised medicine this study will pave the way for is that which enables not just to diagnose breast cancer, but to diagnose one of ten types of breast cancer. This allows clinical staff to choose a treatment plan that is most suitable.
It is going to be interesting to see this come into clinical practice - three years or more down the line. Seeing which other disease areas follow with similar studies to develop treatment plans will also be interesting to see