Tools For Researching Your Own Diagnosis!,,,,
There are a number of important research tools that most patients don’t know about, including molecular profiling, cancer biomarkers, and chemosensitivity assays. Additionally, TumorGrafts, implanted in animal surrogates, along with personalized vaccines, could be potentially lifesaving.
Molecular profiling, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is a method of testing that examines each person’s cancer tumor and studies the genetic characteristics, as well as any unique biomarkers. The information gathered is used to identify and create targeted therapies that are designed to work better for a specific cancer tumor profile.
Speaking from my own experience, molecular profiling saved my life. Pathologists at a major medical center found a growth pathway called m-Tor in my tumor that guided my liver transplant team ( Cleveland Clinic ) to put me on a drug called Rapamune ( m-Tor inhibitor ) that is keeping my liver cancer free.
Biomarkers can refer to many different compounds in the body that indicate something about your health. There are biomarkers for heart disease , multiple sclerosis, and many other diseases. When people talk about cancer biomarkers, they’re usually referring to proteins, genes, and other molecules that affect how cancer cells grow, multiply, die, and respond to other compounds in the body.
While some cancer biomarkers can be used to predict how aggressively your cancer will grow, and are therefore useful for prognosis, the most promising use of biomarkers today is to identify which therapies a particular patient’s cancer may or may not respond to. Cancer biomarkers can include:
- Gene mutations
- Gene rearrangments
- Extra copies of genes
- Missing genes
Patients facing advanced or aggressive disease can work with their clinicians and use these biomarkers, to build their Triad of Survival. This is three contingency plans, on the table at all times, to be used as backup plans. These plans will hopefully be able to increase survival times. Currently , I am on my 4th Triad, over the past fourteen years. ( from Lifelines to Cancer Survival )