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article imagePersonalized medicines lead to improved patient outcomes

By Tim Sandle     Jun 7, 2016 in Science
Personalized medicines have received a great deal of attention, where medicines are fashioned for particular patients. Now the first major study indicates that these medicines are demonstrably effective.
Personalized medicine proposes the customization of healthcare. This means medical decisions, practices, and drug products being tailored to the individual patient. Here medical laboratory testing would select the appropriate therapy for an individual person based on a given person’s individual genetic make-up and particular physical characteristics. According to a recent tweet from the Mayo Clinic, "#biotech is revolutionizing personalized medicine."
The new study is a meta-analysis (that is research that reviews other published studies); the research took in hundreds of clinical trials involving thousands of patients. The research study focused on the use of individual genetics to refine cancer treatment. The outcome was that such bespoke therapies gave a better response and improved periods of remission for patients.
To arrive at this conclusion, medics examined the outcomes of some 346 phase I clinical trials involving 13,203 patients. Here, after subjecting the results to statistical analysis, it was found:
Precision medicine treatment led to over 30 percent of patients responding well to treatment compared to just 4.9 percent of patients who received non-personalized therapeutic agents.
Patients administered precision medicines had longer progression-free survival. Here the average time in remission was 5.7 months compared to less than three months for those given general anti-cancer medicines.
With the 346 trials, 58 involved precision medicines and 293 used established treatments. Similar positive responses were found with solid tumors and with blood cancers.
Speaking with Pharmaceutical Processing magazine, Dr. Maria Schwaederlé, who led the research, stated: "Our analysis shows that in the era of precision medicine, phase I clinical trials using personalized therapy with a biomarker-based approach can do more than assess the toxicity and side effects." Here the medic noted there were “improved outcomes for patients, even among people whose disease is resistant to standard treatments.”
Commenting on the research, medical commentator Reed Miller tweeted: "Personalized medicine is the future and always will be."
The study was put together by a team based at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study analysis has been published in the journal JAMA Oncology. The title of the research is: “Association of Biomarker-Based Treatment Strategies With Response Rates and Progression-Free Survival in Refractory Malignant Neoplasms: A Meta-analysis.”
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