July 20, 2019   11:51pm
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Early lung cancer detection & genetically-tailored cancer treatments — On the way?

Early lung cancer detection — on the way … along with genetically tailored cancer treatments?

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A Wall Street Journal article, “Blood Test May Detect Lung Cancer,”* writes that “The elusive goal of an accurate and noninvasive screening test for early detection of lung cancer among people who smoke moved a small step closer to reality.” It is based on a report released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting by a researcher from Germany who presented results of a genetic test that can identify outwardly healthy smokers who will go on to develop lung cancer. Some 25,000 apparently healthy smokers in Heidelberg, Germany, were part of the test that identified a set of genetic changes associated with lung cancer in 88% of cases. He said his diagnoses were accurate 80% of the time. The “study elicited cautious praise”.

In a related WSJ article, “Genetic Research May Help Pick Patients’ Best Cancer Drugs,” it was reported that “New genetic research emerging from a major cancer meeting here could help doctors better identify the drugs most likely to work in their patients — but sharply reduce the market for certain blockbuster cancer drugs.” The research …”highlighted an important shift in cancer treatment …toward ‘personalized medicine,’ in which treatment is tailored to an individual based upon his or her genetic makeup.”

“The focus of attention at the cancer meeting [American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, week of June 2] is a gene called K-ras, a regulator of cell growth that researchers say plays a crucial role in several cancers.”

Numerous drugs and the pharmaceutical companies that produce them are discussed in this article, so if cancer is a concern of yours or those you care about, suggest you read it in full.

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* The Wall Street Journal, “Blood Test May Detect Lung Cancer” by Marilyn Chase, Monday, June 2, 2008, pg B4

** The Wall Street Journal, “Genetic Research May Help Pick Patients’ Best Cancer Drugs” by Ron Winslow and Marilyn Chase, Monday, June 2, 2008, pg B4.

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