If you’re hearing the terms “precision medicine” and/or “personalized medicine” more and more, there is a reason. The future of cancer treatment is being focused on tailoring cancer treatment to the actual genetic makeup of the disease (rather than blasting it with a lot of treatments and hoping one works). That is my very basic explanation; the NIH has a very in-depth explanation.
Little did I realize until a year-ish into my treatment that I am an actual human who benefited from precision medicine. (That’s what the drug trial was about, targeting my specific breast cancer mutation.) And then in March 2015 I got to meet U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell (an incredible, inspiring woman, I might add) when she came to San Francisco to meet with Bay Area biotech researchers and tour UCSF’s new research facility. (Basically, she came to see what the smartest people in cancer and other types of medical research are doing these days.) You can check out President Obama’s full budget proposal for precision medicine here.
The bill is currently in Congress being negotiated…I am hoping that our Congressmen realize how important it is.
Here’s a blog post from March 2015 from Secretary Burwell’s visit to UCSF. (There’s a photo of me in there; I’m on the right side looking very serious–I was so nervous!):
Anyway, if you, a family member, friend, neighbor, or even a frenemy gets diagnosed with the Big C, ask the oncologist about precision medicine. You’ll not only look smart but you might also find a new treatment option.