Progressive steps toward individualized cancer treatment are being made by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is known globally as one of the foremost sources of cancer funding and research. One of NCI’s most recent initiatives is to implement programs that provide personalized cancer therapy by identifying possible gene mutations in the cancer cell itself and linking a patient’s electronic medical records.
Researchers will be able to identify which kind of cancer therapy will effectively treat a certain type of cancer by looking for specific biologically derived indicators in the cancer cells of a patient. The NCI has made a commitment to move from a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment to a combination of cancer therapies that are tailor-made for the specific patient.
While several customizable procedures are currently approved for use in treating cancer patients, the NCI is determined to expand the range of these procedures recognizing the potential they have to save lives. Striving to achieve this goal, the NCI has implemented several programs to refine personalized cancer treatment and help bring unique therapy solutions from the lab to the physician’s office. Two of the most vital of these programs are the Cancer Genome Atlas and linking Electronic Health Records (EHR).
The Cancer Genome Atlas
The Cancer Genome Atlas is a unique program which identifies and records all genetic mutations associated with cancer cell growth. Identifying these genetic mutations enables researchers to pin point specific drugs that can be manufactured in a way that either kills the cancer cells directly or makes them more vulnerable to other forms of cancer treatment. Genetic mapping of cancer cell growth will potentially improve cancer research in several different ways -including bringing more effective drugs to the patient sooner and improving cancer survival rates.
Linking Electronic Health Records
Another way that cancer care can be improved is by linking a patient’s medical records electronically. An electronic health record assimilates every component of a patient’s medical history, including medications, blood work, x-rays, past surgeries and hospitalizations, EKGs, medical diagnoses, and more. The current record keeping system isolates the individual patient’s medical information in separate medical files that are maintained by numerous different healthcare providers.
Accurately linking this information is essential because it enables the treating physician to provide patients with definitive treatment by having the complete medical picture. Instead, many physicians acquire the information piecemeal by requesting these records from other clinicians or simply making a diagnosis with missing links such as a past surgery, mental health condition, or prior exposure to dangerous substances such as asbestos. Linking electronic health records is done in a way that not only meets current laws and stipulations regarding confidentiality, but also meets the patient’s individual privacy needs.
On the legal front, attorneys such as Greg J. Borri, a New York mesothelioma lawyer, are following these cancer research developments with avid interest in an effort to pass any relevant information pertaining to mesothelioma on to clients who are mesothelioma patients and whose cancer survival rates may be improved.
Gregg J. Borri is a New York mesothelioma lawyer who specializes in asbestos litigation. His law offices provide legal representation to victims of asbestos exposure (the principal cause of mesothelioma), namely those diagnosed with one of the three mesothelioma types – pleural, peritoneal, or pericardial mesothelioma. Each New York mesothelioma lawyer there is committed to forcefully and effectively advocating their clients’ claims to legal compensation from the corporations that caused or contributed to their exposure to asbestos, allowing clients to focus on medical treatment.