What is Oncogenomics?
Precision Medicine, or Oncogenomics, is the right drug, for the right patient, at the right time
Traditionally - and often in standard health care - medical treatments are designed for the average patient. Since these treatments are based on the average person they involve potentially dangerous trial and error, may cause adverse reactions, or worse. As medical science - and science in general - has advanced Precision Medicine (also known as Oncogenomics) has emerged as the future of healthcare.
Oncogenomics strives to match each patient with the treatment that will work best for them, the first time. Through precise diagnostics, such as genomic testing, individual differences inform and guide treatment plans. Your genes, the environment in which you live and work, your lifestyle, and even in the microscopic organisms that live inside you, all need to be considered when selecting the treatments best suited for your cancer. Unlike standard oncology, precision oncology deals directly with you, and the molecular changes that are driving your cancer – treating your cancer at its source – at its DNA.
Advances in three key areas of medical science have made Precision Oncology possible:
- Diagnostics: Genomic testing and molecular testing
- Treatment: Targeted therapies and immunotherapy
- Monitoring: Liquid biopsy
Genomic and molecular testing looks at your genes and identifies the mutations, and expression levels of these genes in your tumour cells compared to your normal cells. This enables your doctor to understand the underlying cause of your cancer, so they can select the treatments that will stop it at its source.
Targeted therapies target cells that have these mutations only, and block the growth and spread of your cancer by preventing cancer cells from dividing or destroying them directly. Immunotherapy drugs boost your immune system and expose your cancer cells as invaders so your immune system can locate and destroy them.
Liquid biopsies are able to assess quickly, with a high degree of accuracy, how well your treatment is working and the degree to which cancer is present in your body. Liquid biopsies typically monitor the level of a genetic mutation or molecular feature that is unique to your cancer cells. Liquid biopsies are redefining treatment monitoring, providing faster and more accurate data to guide your cancer care.
Precision Medicine changes the way we understand disease and is revolutionizing medicine. Because we are now able to look at the DNA of diseases we no longer need to use a symptoms-based approach. Instead we can now understand what is causing disease at a molecular level.
This change impacts everything from how we treat and name diseases, to clinical trial design and how we study pharmaceuticals. While this is a new and emerging field of medical science many treatments and therapies are already approved and saving lives worldwide.