What is precision oncology?
Precision oncology has become mainstream in clinical practice. It is defined as the profiling of molecules from tumors to identify alterations that are targetable. Many stakeholders are involved in genomic testing to deliver good quality tissue samples to good quality laboratories for actionable results through molecular analysis. Clinicians should be aware of the types of genomic variants reported and the technology used to obtain results, including the limitations of reports and current testing methodologies. Clinical progression may play an essential role in the decision-making of treatment. As techniques evolved to become even more cost-effective, molecular testing might improve outcomes and add specificity for many people.
What is the potential benefit of precision oncology?
Precision oncology takes an individual’s genetics into consideration to create treatment options specifically designed for them and other people with similar molecular changes. That involves analyzing their tumor and their blood and appropriately using the targeted treatment (substances or drugs that stop cancer from spreading or growing by attacking specific cells). Unlike chemotherapy, the targeted treatment might be less prone to harming your healthy cells, thus causing fewer and fewer severe side effects. It is transforming how doctors are thinking of treating patients with cancer. Precision oncology is offering possible alternatives to treatments that are ineffective and unnecessary sometimes.
What are some challenges associated with precision oncology?
It is relatively new in the field of science. Scientists and health care providers must have a very good understanding of biochemistry and genetics. Some technologies that are necessary for the making of oncology into everyday practice have not been fully developed yet. The three main challenges may be cost, collection, and consent.
How will privacy be protected?
Keeping the health information confidential and protecting patient privacy is crucial. Researchers must develop a very rigorous process of consent. Individuals who choose to participate in donating genetic material to a huge database need to fully understand the benefits and risks of taking part in scientific research. You can get more information on trust principles and privacy in the precision medicine initiative. If you conduct an online search, the framework and policy principles are available.
How do doctors manage and collect donated generic materials?
One of the goals of the precision medicine initiative is the collection of hospital and clinic data from over a million volunteers. Researchers and doctors are working towards finding better ways of standardizing the collection process. Enormous databases have been created in order to store patient`s data in large amounts efficiently. The donated samples are then sent, with no information that would tie it to any individual, to data banks.
Is our precision oncology treatment going to be costlier than the other cancer drugs?
With precision medicine and precision oncology, the cost is a very important issue. Technologies used to sequence huge amounts of DNA tend to be very expensive to develop. As technology evolves, they are less costly. Drugs developed targeting an individual`s molecular or genetic characteristics are likely to cost a lot of money. Issues may also arise when it comes to reimbursement from private insurance companies.