Personalized Medicine in the Treatment of Cancer Essay

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Sir William Osler wittily compared the development of personalized medicine to an art form, saying that medicine would truly be a science if all humans had the same genetic makeup (Theodorescu, 24). One can easily imagine how each human started as a blank canvas and over time developed additional brushstrokes from factors such as genetic crossovers and mutations, making everyone a unique piece of art. Because no two individuals are exactly the same, there is a need for individualized treatment when people are ill, which is where personalized medicine takes on a role. Personalized medicine is a relatively new area of drug development that emerged in popularity after the sequencing of the human genome in 2003; it concentrates on getting “the…show more content…
Testing can also help predict one’s risk of developing a certain type of cancer (Theodorescu, 24). Currently, there are several applications of personalized medicine seen in breast cancer cases; particularly because in over half of the cases of early-stage breast cancer, women undergo toxic treatments that will have no benefit to them at all – neither increasing their lifespan nor decreasing their risk of recurrence (Van’t Veer, 564). In cases such as this, personalized medicine makes treatment less of a “leap-of-faith” and gives patients and healthcare providers somewhat of a “crystal ball” (Gilbert, 19).
The continuous and relentless research done in the medical field is becoming beneficial for human kind. When the human genome was discovered it was a revolutionary discovery. This information helps explain many medical issues, and can help lead to many cures. The concept of personalized medical treatment is fairly new, but an idea that can be used in many medical problems. An area where personalized medicine can be most beneficial is in the treatment of cancer. The typical treatment of cancer has been usually a general approach. Drugs usually used in cancer treatment are designed to kill the cancer cells, but also healthy cells. Patients may experience severe toxicities, side effects, or develop more cancerous tumors. The patients’ well-being is not the only affected with the generalized cancer drug treatment, but the
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