EDITORIAL: We Can Save More Cancer Patients Right Now


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In a commentary just published in Drug Discovery & Development magazine, Labcyte CEO Mark Fischer-Colbrie discusses the opportunity to save more cancer patients through individualized medicine.

In the article, Fischer-Colbrie talks about pioneering work using cells from each patient to screen for the treatment that performs best against that particular cancer. These cell-based assays represent the real implementation of custom-tailored medicine that we’ve dreamed about for so many years, and they’re already being used to help patients today.

Fischer-Colbrie cites work from scientists at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland (FIMM), where cell-based assays are used together with analyses of the patient and cancer genomes to understand why a drug (or drug combination) has a specific effect. It’s a revolutionary approach that incorporates a much-needed feedback loop to help improve treatment for all cancer patients. “In studies, this screening method has identified drugs that allowed patients to go into remission — including long-term patients who had already undergone many rounds of chemotherapy without clinical benefit,” Fischer-Colbrie writes, noting that it’s humbling to see that Labcyte tools are helping to make this possible.

The article also acknowledges that drug repurposing regulations and physician education will have to be addressed in order to maximize the value that these results might have in mainstream medicine.

“Millions of cancer patients are counting on us to bring advances like this to the clinic,” Fischer-Colbrie writes. “When we see such promise for saving lives, we must do everything we can to accelerate its development and expand its use.”