A Step in the Right Direction

There was an article in The Boston Globe the other day about Mass General Hospital in Boston. It seems that MGH will be the first hospital in the country to do mandatory genetic testing on every cancerous tumor they encounter.  This is very cool.   What they have found is that many of the tumors have similar characteristics to others and by treating them more specifically then they can do away with unnecessary over-treatments.

This type of testing is already done on most breast cancers now which is why they have Herceptin that treats specifically the her2/neu type of tumor (the kind I have).  Herceptin will not work on non-her2 fed tumors.  Hopefully the testing of each tumor in all sorts of cancers; lung, colon, etc will call for the invention of other Herceptin-like drugs used as targeted therapy and save patients the agony and side effects of many Chemotherapy treatment drugs that are not working.

Ten years ago Herceptin was not around and many died from their her2/neu type breast cancer.  Now, with the help of the drug, many live long and happy lives.  It is exciting to think that steps are being made toward more of these targeted drugs.

I often hear people complain that they think it is big business for drug companies to NOT find a cure for cancer.  I don’t believe this. It just takes time and patience. Sometimes growth in any area of life comes in spurts. There are times it seems our own children will never grow up and then suddenly overnight, their shoes don’t fit and they need new jeans and they can talk in full senetences.  I feel that this new step in cancer research is like a growth-spurt.  Once we tap into the genetic make-up of these tumors, it will open up a whole new world of possibilities for treatment.

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Since personally I seem to know way too many people battling cancer right now, the necessity of MGH’s new plan seems obvious.

Read the full article here:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/03/mgh_to_use_genetics_to_personalize_cancer_care/

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