The charity Cancer Research UK recently announced that it is partnering with the UK's Department of Health to genetically test the tumors of 9,000 newly diagnosed patients. The idea being, in part, to test different drugs on different cancers and find the best treatments for each. Though the undertaking is still in the early stages, Jimmy Daruwala at the PredictER News blog asks whether personalizing cancer treatment on a national scale is even possible. He says he's concerned about the privacy of patients' health data. The American Cancer Society, though, is planning a study which will follow 300,000 people with no personal history of cancer in order to understand how environmental factors and lifestyle work with genetics to cause cancer or protect people from cancer. "Unlike the UK study, the ACS study seeks to prevent cancer rather than treat it," Durawala says. "The study will collect blood samples, waist measurements, and surveys from study participants. Research subjects derive no direct benefits from the study compared to the UK study; however, ethically speaking the study's website cites specific measures indicated to ensure privacy."
Two Ways of Doing Things
Aug 27, 2011