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First Up: Cancer

By John Russell

September 3, 2008 | It seems clear that cancer will be the first disease which significantly benefits from personalized medicine (PM). This is perhaps understandable given the enormous heterogeneity of the disease; indeed individual tumors from the same patient may have different genetic defects and require different therapeutics. Here’re two more pieces of evidence:

Health Discovery Corporation, a specialist in using support vector machine (SVM) technology to interpret images, just signed a licensing agreement with Smart Personalized Medicine, to develop a breast cancer prognostic test in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center. HDC holds exclusive rights to 31 issued U.S. and foreign patents covering uses of SVM and FGM (fractal genomics modeling) technology.

US Oncology just appointed Stephen Smith as VP and GM of its Research and Personalized Science Services. Smith will oversee the US Oncology Research Network, which provides research management services to oncology practices and sites throughout the nationwide US Oncology Network. It’s played a role in 24 of the last 30 cancer drugs approved by the FDA and more than 32,000 patients have participated in clinical trials.

Clearly efforts to put PM technology into the hands of cancer clinicians are speeding up. It will be interesting to track how much of this technology seeps into other disease areas and fuels PM development further.

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