News Feature | January 21, 2014

Are The Life Sciences Inching Closer To Profiling Colon Cancer?

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By Marcus Johnson

Colon cancer is a common killer, and is currently the third most acquired cancer in the world. Major industry leader Caris Life Sciences, has been preparing a presentation to share their findings in their colon cancer profiling project. Their study had over 7,000 test patients, which has made it the largest of such studies of colon cancer on record. Caris took the approach of individualizing the process, looking at each individual’s symptoms and cancer mutations instead of treating the disease as the same for each of the 7,000 patients.

Caris’s personalized medicine concept is a rising one in the life sciences, and is a concept that is expected to continue to grow along with the ever expanding healthcare industry. Fadi Braiteh, one of the authors of the study was quoted as saying: “We are definitely moving from treating colon cancer as one disease to treating it as 20 to 30 different diseases. This research also highlights the feasibility of tumor profiling for colorectal cancer in the community setting.”

The rise of personalized medicine means personalized solutions, and for that reasons increased potential for profit in the life sciences industry. For example, instead of one generic drug for colon cancer, there could potentially be up to 20 or 30, for each mutation of the disease. That is why the industry is as interested in personalized medicine as patients are.

With the new developments in personalized medicine, there are a number of analytics companies that are vying to help the industry make their data easier to access, reference, and use for medical purposes such as finding patterns within patient’s symptoms. As big data analytics companies move into the healthcare realm, there will be investment opportunities for both analytics firms and pharmaceuticals developing multiple “personalized” drugs for specific mutations of diseases.