Sometimes on the Sherpa I take promising requests for posts from writers who have interesting viewpoints. Ashley is one of those.
Will Personalized Medicine Save Us From Disease?
It’s something that most people who have lost loved ones to cancer wish was invented earlier – the personalized medicine that promises to help beat cancer if your genetic makeup indicates that you’re likely to be affected by this dreaded disease. It’s worse than anything else known to man because in most cases, it results in a painful and inevitable death. Some people spend all the money they have battling this disease only to lose their lives along with their wealth at the end of it all. And the few who survive do so after going through excruciatingly painful procedures that cause brutal side effects as well.
So if technological and medical advances come up with a personalized form to prevent cancer altogether, is it any wonder that mankind is figuratively jumping for joy? We already have good news for patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), the chronically debilitating disease that cripples normal life for its sufferers. With researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham having isolated the first bio-marker for MS to help them predict which patients are more likely to respond to a standard therapy and which of them won’t respond, MS patients are spared the expense and pain of treatment that does not work.
Now Pfizer has come out with a drug that it hopes will help people beat cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, blood and kidney by helping to identify the potential risk for being affected by the disease and as a way of battling the disease after it has started to wreak havoc on your body. Early trials have proved the value of this wonder drug, and when it makes it to the market after passing all the rigorous test stages, we can hope for new breakthroughs in understanding, preventing and treating cancer.
Similarly, I hope the day is not far when personalized medicines are invented to help people beat addictions that are chemical in nature, like cigarettes and nicotine for example. While some people are able to quit cold turkey and others slowly wean themselves off this nasty and detrimental habit, others find that they’re unable to quit no matter what they do. They become slaves of cigarettes, and even though they loathe themselves and the nicotine-laden sticks, they cannot bring themselves to kick it for good. As a result, their health is ruined, and they fall prey to cancer and other dangerous diseases.
So let’s hope and wait for the time when drugs based on genetic markers and makeup are available as both prevention and cure mechanisms – we can avoid side effects and unnecessary pain and hardship if this comes to fruition.