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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cancer patients will ‘manage disease’ with new DNA-based treatments | Health | Life | National Post


Cancer patients will ‘manage disease’ with new DNA-based treatments | Health | Life | National Post

Excerpt: (click on above link for full article)

"Cancer will become a manageable disease rather than a death sentence thanks to a revolutionary treatment which will be available within five years, British specialists predict.


All patients will soon have their tumour’s DNA, its genetic code, sequenced, enabling doctors to ensure they give exactly the right drugs to keep the disease at bay.
Doctors hope it will be an important step towards transforming cancer into a chronic rather than fatal disease."
***
"Genetic profiling of tumours is already used to some extent, but current methods only look for a few genes. Women with advanced breast cancer are tested to see if their tumours have a particular variant of the HER2 gene, which causes a fifth of cases. Those with it are given Herceptin, but the same drug would do no good for those without the gene variant.


Advanced melanoma patients with a particular gene mutation are prescribed Vemurafenib, a pill that has been shown to increase survival, on average, from 9.6 to 13.2 months, and help patients feel much more energetic.
But average survival times hide massive variations. One patient at the Royal Marsden in Chelsea, where the institute is based, has survived 10 years so far with advanced breast cancer on Herceptin.
Prof Ashworth said that such cases were the exception.
But he added: “We would hope that they will become the norm. By actively profiling patients who respond well, and sequencing their genomes, we can find the genes that are responsible for that.”
***
It’s an idea that is elegant for its simplicity: Rather than killing cancer with chemo- or radiation therapies, which can also poison healthy tissue, why not conduct the attack with the weapons of the body’s own immune system? Although the idea has been around for decades, the technique, known as immuno­therapy, has long been a frontier of cancer care that’s just out of reach."


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Pharmacy History

"The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was ARIANA the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic treatise attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.[3]

Ancient Egyptian pharmacological knowledge was recorded in various papyri such as the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus of the 16th century BC.

The earliest known Chinese manual on materia medica is the Shennong Bencao Jing (The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic), dating back to the 1st century AD. It was compiled during the Han dynasty and was attributed to the mythical Shennong. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui tomb, sealed in 168 BC. Further details on Chinese pharmacy can be found in the Pharmacy in China article."

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmacy#History_of_pharmacy

Journal of Palliative Medicine - Table of Contents

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