One treatment method on the cutting edge of cancer research is targeted or personalized medicine, an approach that attacks a cancer at the genetic level. This method has lots of promise, having been compared to smart bombing tumors as opposed to the carpet bomb approach that standard chemotherapy has tended to be.
Part of the problem with this kind of targeted therapy has been ascertaining the genetic code of a particular cancer and then matching an FDA-approved medication to attack it. According to Gizmag, some researchers at the University of Colorado have developed a medical device called Integrating Molecular Profiles with Actionable Therapeutics (IMPACT). IMPACT takes data from an exome sequencing from a tumor, maps it against a human genome, then picks up genetic variations that may prove to be a factor in the occurrence of a cancer. Finally, the device does a search for approved drugs that would be best suited to attacking the particular tumor.
The researchers have already used IMPACT to identify drugs that treat EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. In the latter case, when the cancer relapsed, the device was used to sequence the tumor again, identify the mutation, and identify a new combination of drugs to effectively treat it.
Scientists believe that personalized, targeted treatments of cancer would be impossible without the ability to rapidly analyze the genetic composition of tumors and then select the appropriate treatment. IMPACT is an undoubtedly effective tool to make that important step happen.
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