(NewsUSA) – When scientists first read the whole genetic code of a human being in 2003, the enormous achievement promised a new era in medicine.
What we get, and also how we react to drugs, depends in large part on our very own individual genes. Knowing our own genetic code, so therefore, makes it feasible to design specific treatments that work best for every individual – an approach known as personalized medicine.
This personalized approach proves to be particularly crucial in cancer therapy. Tumors that appear to be of the identical form can actually have quite different underlying genetic mutations. And since most of the modern drugs are intended to target specific genetic vulnerabilities of cells, a medication that’s effective for some tumors will fail to others.
Realizing the enormous promise of personalized medicine has not been fast or easy. It has required major scientific and technological advances to show the connections between genetic variants and ailments, and to dramatically reduce the probability of identifying and sequencing genes.
Nevertheless recent progress was remarkable. In the past couple of decades, over one-quarter of all new drugs approved by the FDA have been personalized medicines. And by 2020, the entire market for targeted therapies and gene tests is expected to top $149 billion per year.
One of the many businesses which have been forcing this fast advancement is Pittsburgh-based Helomics. The company has developed clinical tests for key enzymes and other biomarkers in a whole array of various cancers. Studies show that a personalized approach using Helomics’ ChemoFx evaluation brings a 14-month improvement in overall survival in patients with gynecologic cancer. The BioSpeciFx evaluation, by way of example, assesses the genes that are active in cancer cells to reliably notify the patient’s tumor response to drugs.
Helomics is also expanding its reach with a new technology it requires D-CHIP™ and a strategic alliance with Skyline Medical (NASDAQ:SKLN), that markets an innovative system for collecting and disposing of fluids from individuals. Thus more and more in 2018, your drugs will probably be customized just for you.