Where Are We Now and Where is the Future?
Historically, cancer treatment in the past has been based on the microscopic description (terminology called histopathology) diagnosed by a pathologist. This led to a one-size fits all approach in chemotherapy treatment if a patient's cancer was deemed advanced and had metastasized. However, the cancer field recognized that one-size-fits all approach was not effective and that there was a great deal of variability between the same tumor biology between patients that carried the same diagnosis. Further, it is now known that there is EVEN differences in drug susceptibility within cancer cells that reside within the same tumor. This has led to the development of a variety of biotechnologies that attempt to better predict cancer drug susceptibility and better predict drug treatment outcomes. Thus, a new approach in cancer treatment has emerged called "personalized cancer medicine" that attempts to individualize cancer treatment.
In the following series of posts, we will highlight some of these efforts from a historical perspective. We will discuss some of these approaches. We will discuss some of the success as well as their shortcomings. We will also discuss some newer approaches that may hold promise for cancer patients. We will also describe some of the research in personalized medicine that the Institute has been conducting in cancer research over the years. We will also describe how the fields of cancer research and stem cell research intersect.