A patient journey: starting with questionsSkip
George was diagnosed with late-stage colorectal cancer at the age of 54. Naturally, his life changed immediately and he wanted answers to important questions: What are my chances? What is the right treatment? How will disease and therapy affect my life from now on?
Innovations in medical research help in finding answers to these questions quicker than ever before.Every patient counts
George’s experience is a fictional example. But there are millions of real people searching for answers to the question of how to treat their disease as effectively as possible. Personalized medicine aims to tailor unique treatment options to patients who share characteristics and who therefore are most likely to benefit from the treatment. We are committed to advancing this personalized medicine approach and to make it as widely available as possible.
Effectively treating cancer
Worldwide, about 1.2 million people develop colorectal cancer every year and the disease causes over 600,000 human deaths annually. A complex biological signaling cascade is involved in the development and progression of this cancer type. In order to block this cancer-promoting signaling cascade, scientists developed so-called selective monoclonal antibodies. When these antibodies bind with the growth receptor, the cancer cell no longer receives the messages it needs for growth, progression and metastasis. This treatment approach has the potential to ultimately lead to high response rates and a clinically meaningful benefit in patients identified to be promising treatment candidates. This is usually done by using biomarkers to test whether the patient can respond to a certain therapy.
Scientists and medical professionals know that people react differently to therapies. Some patients respond well to a treatment, others not at all or the treatment may cause adverse effects. The challenge is to find out which treatment fits best to the person in question and what approach has the most promising outcome. Technological advances such as liquid biopsies (e.g. blood-based next generation sequencing) make it easier for patients to undergo tests to find the right fit of treatment. In contrast to traditional invasive tumor biopsies that remove part of the tissue in order to analyze it, liquid biopsies can deliver comparable or additional information by testing body fluids that can be obtained in convenient manner. The derived information provides guidance on which treatment option will probably be most effective, whether a patient might respond to a specific treatment or whether a patient is likely to experience tumor progression.
Our vision for personalized medicine is that every patient takes the type and dosage of medicine that is best suited for their personal circumstances. This may lead to a better quality of life. After all, why should you administer three injections a day if the body in question only needs two?
Making science tangible:
Read our "Envisioning tomorrow" stories, which deal with the most pressing issues of our time. Meet our scientists, surf through thousands of scientific publications, patents and presentations.
The same method of treating colorectal cancer is not effective in all patients. But with personalized medicine, a specially developed predictive biomarker can indicate the expected efficacy of the therapy – allowing treating physicians to prescribe it only to those patients who can actually significantly benefit from the therapy.
The goal: improve treatment success rates
Conventional drugs are currently effective in…
If, in the future, targeted approaches can be used to treat more illnesses, this can lead to a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits: Lower failure rates of therapies reduce the financial burden on the health system. More precisely targeted medication can decrease the likelihood of patients developing resistances which could increase the likelihood of successful future therapies. Also, using less medication would cause less residual medical ingredients to enter the water treatment cycle and the environment.
The right drug for the right patient
Head of Global Translational Medicine
Lisa Benincosa is Head of Global Translational Medicine at our company. Translational Medicine is a multidisciplinary area of research that aims to improve human health and longevity by determining the relevance to human disease of novel discoveries in the biological sciences.
|Education:||PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York|
|Joined our company in:||July 2019|
|Focus areas:||Clinical Pharmacology|
Our commitment to the SDGs
Promote well-being for all at all stages
The effort we put into researching and further developing personalized medicines aligns with targets of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
Personalized medicines can help decrease the mortality rate attributed to cancer. When a patient is diagnosed at an advanced disease stage, timely and evidence-based treatment selection is critical. Our research aims to enable the physician to select an appropriate treatment based on molecular information, potentially reducing side effects, improving tolerability and quality of life and finally increasing the chances of healing and survival.
The combined efforts of global healthcare stakeholders will turn scientific insights into superior and affordable therapeutic concepts, with sustainable value for patients and society. Personalized medicine is a very promising avenue of this effort.”