Increasingly, research laboratories are developing the so-called targeted therapies, designed to be administered in a personalized manner to each patient. In the case of cancers, for example, these treatments are carrying considerable hope for the sick. Dr. Mace Rothenberg, vice president of clinical development and medical affairs for Pfizer Oncology, outlines the future developments of these techniques.
“30 years ago, there are two types of lung cancer. A small cell and non small cell. Today we know that these cancers are divided into many more categories. And we seek to identify the cause of these diseases, “said he. Indeed, it is now possible to analyze the genetic code of a tumor such as the patient who suffers. Like behavior, the environment and the patient’s medical history, this information is essential to characterize genetic cancer … and fight disease as effectively as possible.
The diagnosis at the heart of the challenge for the future
However, in order to develop these treatments, “we must ensure we select the right targets, and we identify the right patients,” says Mace Rothenberg. Hence the importance of initial diagnosis – and thus diagnostic tests – the patient and tumor.
Numerous, often complex, diagnostic tests often require a significant amount of tumor tissue. Result, this initial phase is time consuming. “I hope that in less than ten years we will be able to combine different tests today in several tissues of the tumor,” enthuses our interlocutor. Today, some tests can be performed on the tissue of the initial biopsy, other tissue of freshly drawn, others directly to the tumor.
“In the future, may not be there even practice a tumor biopsy to make these diagnoses. But we need a few more years to achieve. “