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Special Report: Fast machines, genes and the future of medicine

For example, patients with advanced breast cancer are tested to determine if their tumours have a particular type of the HER2 gene, responsible for 20 per cent of cases.

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Cancer genetic or not cancer patients with a particular type of melanoma may also be prescribed the life-prolonging drug Vemurafenib.

Scientists: Currently, cancer genetic or not cancer drugs go through a process that ends with a big trial involving several thousand patients. Such trials are designed to look for small success rates across large population file picture Professor Ashworth's team will use the techniques to track cancers as they progress, mutate and develop resistance to drugs.

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At the moment, tumour DNA has to be profile using an invasive biopsy. But the scientists now hope to develop a blood test to identify DNA floating around the body from tumours instead. It may also start to reshape the way trials of cancer treatments are conducted.

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Currently, all cancer drugs go through a process that ends with a big cancer genetic or not involving several thousand patients. But they often lead to drugs being marketed that only benefit a minority of the patients who papiloma humano virus hombre them.

The benefits are certain in some cases: life years gained for those with curable disease, avoidance of morbidity, reassurance that the disease is at a very early stage, avoiding expenses of treatment cancer genetic or not advanced cancers and extra years of productivity. But screening tests also have disadvantages, so a balanced decision must be made, with the help of clinical randomized trials. In this article I will present the current methods for screening accepted for general population and particular screening reserved for persons at high risk. Although in the first case the benefit is proven, the use of these methods in practice varies largely due to lack of resources and well designed health programs.

For example, only one in ten women given chemotherapy for breast cancer actually responds to the treatment. In future, big trials could be replaced by smaller studies providing much more meaningful results.

Each would recruit a few hundred patients whose genetic make-up is likely to suit the treatment being tested. Certainly, the idea of developing old-fashioned chemotherapy is going out the window.

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It took a decade of work and around £2billion to produce the first draft of the human genome, or genetic code, in Share cancer genetic or not comment on this article: Cancer will no longer be 'a death sentence': DNA-based treatment to transform lives within 10 years.