Tailored to you: Personalized Treatment
Cancer has become less of a disease of certain organ than a genetic mishap turned tragic. As a result, oncologists have begun tailoring patients' treatment options to better fit their diagnoses, a practice known as "personalized medicine." In this, analyses of patients' biopsies point toward the use of a variety of drugs not usually prescribed in normal analyses. For example, the best treatment for one patient's case of breast cancer may be one already used in general treatment of colorectal cancer.
An integral part of personalized cancer treatment is the liquid biopsy, which analyzes genetic material shed by a tumor (circulating tumor DNA or ctDNA). Being non-invasive, fast, and cost-efficient, liquid biopsies will allow a doctor to frequently analyze their patient's ctDNA so as to determine whether to change their treatment if their patient's ctDNA changes. If the ctDNA does, in fact, change, it will allow the doctor to develop a new method of treatment specifically designed to treat that type of cancer, thus combating the disease more efficiently overall.
While I cannot say liquid biopsies are the key to curing cancer, they are certainly a step in the right direction.