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Growth and Scope of Precision Oncology in India- by Dr. Niti Raizada, Director – Medical Oncology and Hemato-Oncology from Fortis Cancer Institute

We know that each human being is unique, and this uniqueness is what enhances the beauty of the human race. Humans are unique, not only in terms of appearance and thought process but also in

We know that each human being is unique, and this uniqueness is what enhances the beauty of the human race. Humans are unique, not only in terms of appearance and thought process but also in terms of genetic landscape.

Another well-established fact is that cancer is a heterogeneous disease. This means that there are several differences that exist between cancer cells not only among various patients but also between the cancer cells within a single patient. This is why it has not been possible to cure cancer completely with the help of one single drug only.

Now imagine being prescribed customized cancer treatment based on your genetic makeup, environment, and lifestyle; having your genes determine the treatment you should be given. Usage of unique characteristics of each patient to focus, match and direct the most effective and precise treatments based not only on the genomic profiling of the patient and cancer but also on other unique factors distinguishing one from another is where the concept of precision oncology stems from.

Opting for precision medicine in oncology paired with the traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy helps in treating the root cause of the disease rather than just the symptom. It empirically considers the variations in an individual’s genomic landscape, lifestyle, and environment to get the best outcomes.

This form of treatment has started to gain popularity worldwide and has entered the mainstream clinical practice. The success of precision oncology in the west owes to a dynamic process of active research and adoption of technology into the diagnostic and therapeutic space for understanding the biology of the disease, newer biomarkers, newer diagnostic modalities, and available tissue repositories for gaining insights on cancer progression.

Scope of Precision Oncology in India

Certain therapies developed or tested abroad may have a different response as compared to Indians. Attributes of cancer patients significantly vary across geographies and given the diversity of the population, India has a particular need and high potential for precision medicine. Upon knowing what worked in the west, India followed in the footsteps and can now offer precision oncology initiatives ranging from mapping the genomic profile of an individual and targeting that specific gene alteration with a targeted drug with good results.

Cancer is known to be constantly evolving to elude death and treating it in a customized approach proves to be more effective than just the traditional methods of treatment. With the advent of precision medicine, treatment decisions are getting influenced and determined by understanding the relevant disease characteristics of the patients. This “patient-centric approach” is revolutionizing the healthcare sector today in India and globally.

 

megha@medgatetoday.com

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