Genes ID Best Patients for Colon Cancer Drug

Step toward 'holy grail' of personalized cancer battle
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2008 2:46 AM CDT
A surgeon checks the scands of a colorectal cancer patient. New research on the genetic profile of tumors brings highly-targeted treatment of cancer closer.    (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Researchers have taken a giant step toward the "holy grail" of personalized cancer treatment—by using genetic profiling to accurately target chemotherapy, Reuters reports. A new genetic test of colon cancer tumors is able to predict with accuracy whether a patient will respond to treatment with the drug Erbitux, which blocks tumor growth.   

There are hundreds of expensive narrowly targeted drugs in the pipeline, and genetic testing is expected to help identify who will benefit from which drugs. "These drugs are not cheap, so if they're not going to help, we won't use them," said the lead researcher.
  (Read more colon cancer stories.)