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Old 06-24-2015, 06:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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The particular sequence of DNA that an organism possesses (genotype), or mutational assay, does not determine what bodily or behavioral form (phenotype), or cellular assay, the organism will finally display. Among other things, environmental influences can cause the suppression of some gene functions and the activation of others. The knowledge of genomic complexity tells us that genes and parts of genes interact with other genes, as do their protein products, and the whole system is constantly being affected by internal and external environmental factors. The gene may not be central to the phenotype at all, or at least it shares the spotlight with other influences. Environmental tissue and cytoplasmic factors clearly dominate the phenotypic expression processes, which may in turn, be affected by a variety of unpredictable protein-interaction events.

Until such time as cancer patients are selected for therapies predicted upon their own unique biology, we will confront one targeted drug after another. A better solution to this problem would be to investigate the targeting agents in each individual patient's tissue culture, alone and in combination with other drugs, to gauge the likelihood that the targeting will favorably influence each patient's outcome. Functionally (cellular assay) profiling these results in patients with a multitude type of cancers suggest this to be a highly productive direction.

There is a ray of hope with immunotherapy, after the elements of the cancer industry had put it under a breadbox for over twenty years. Immunotherapy actually does work. However, researchers have no idea why it benefits some people but not others, because releasing the brake facilitates an all-out attack by the immune system, it can cause serious side effects - colitis, skin rashes, impaired pituitary function - that must be managed. The key is identifying the individual patients who stand to benefit (not average populations). Certainly new approaches to immunotherapy are both needed and welcome. It's not the answer to all of cancer, certainly, but when it works, it's helpful.
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