Pharmacogenomics is the study of inherited variations in genes that can influence a person’s response to a drug. What this means is that more individualized treatments can be prescribed. Effectiveness can be forecasted as well as harmful treatments avoided.
Studies and trials around the world are being researched. The goal is to be able to read a patient’s genes and know in advance the course of treatment that will work best for that person.
Just last week the FDA approved a genetic test for determining whether patients with breast cancer are “good” candidates for treatment with the drug Herceptin. “Good” in this situation means the breast cancer tumor shows it will respond favorably to the drug.
Just think; you could plan for your side effects of a treatment. You could make an intelligent decision whether to consent to a course of treatment knowing the side effects may be challenging. You could plan your life as a chronic cancer patient, acute, or terminal.
I know I was shocked when I went through chemotherapy to find out that the drugs they used on me were hoped to be the right ones for my cancer. I was naïve enough to think there was a formula that worked, and if it didn’t, another formula of drugs and treatments was used. I remember saying to my radiation oncologist that 12 years of medical school should have given her more than a statistical recommendation of what would work for me. She told me that actually she was a surgeon before she went into radiation oncology and had more than 12 years of medical school!
Sign me up for Pharmacogenomics. It is a reality, and a new beginning in cancer I hope to see in my life time.