Answering the Call: Personalized Medicines Making Progress in Fighting Cancer

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Last week, the Personalized Medicine Coalition convened leaders from the field on Capitol Hill to discuss the promise of personalized medicine and the implications for policymakers. A number of important issues were raised (more on that in my next post), but the highlight was remarks by Stephanie Haney. Stephanie is a lung cancer patient and mother of two who said she is alive today thanks to a novel personalized medicine. She also said doctors believe that someday her cancer likely will come back despite the treatment. Check the Turning the Tide initiative website in the coming days for more information from the briefing including video interviews from Stephanie and other speakers.

Stephanie’s story reminded me of Adriana Jenkins. Adriana was a breast cancer patient who, before losing her battle against the disease in 2011, published an article in Forbes magazine called “A Dying Wish.” In it, she credited a personalized medicine with extending her life by nine years; and she called on the biopharmaceutical sector to do more to accelerate progress in this field.

We haven’t forgotten that call, and Stephanie’s life is a tangible sign of the progress we’re making against cancer, particularly through development and introduction of new personalized medicines that target cancer based on results from genetic tests. Her story is also a reminder of how important it is for us to make continued progress against cancer.

– A version of this blog originally appeared in The Catalyst posted at the PhRMA website.

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