Edwin Klumper of SMS-oncology discusses the developments that have taken place in personalised medicine, reviewing the impact they have had on the industry and the challenges that lie ahead.
Cure rates in cancer are improving steadily but slowly. Early diagnosis and removal of the primary tumour remain the cornerstone of cures. The efficacy of systemic treatment in advanced disease is modest, despite the discovery of many new molecular targets and the development of new drugs. There is a need for both more effective drugs and for a better understanding of how to use them to improve treatment outcome. The number of publications discussing personalised medicine is skyrocketing. Why do we need personalised drugs? What do we mean by personalised medicine? What are the challenges? How successful has it been so far? What will the future bring? In exploring these questions it is important to bear in mind that personalised medicine is not the Holy Grail, but is another modest step in a long journey to further improve the outcome for patients who suffer from cancer.