Hitting the Bull’s Eye: Precision Drugs That Work
What we call cancer is actually a constellation of rare diseases. In the next decade, pharmaceutical companies will be challenged to rethink their standard business model that looks for blockbusters. Developing individualized therapies will become the new holy grail. Healthcare systems will need to become more agile and retrain oncology teams as more targeted therapies are approved, each one for smaller groups of patients.
Currently, only a fraction of cancers are treated with targeted agents. In 2020, nearly a quarter of lung cancer patients in the US did not get genomic testing before first-line treatment despite the availability of multiple targeted treatments based on a patient’s DNA. Fewer than 40% of US oncologists in a survey felt confident using new sequencing technologies.
In addition to targeting cancer mutations, nanotechnology makes drug delivery more precise. Nanoscale antibody-drug conjugates deliver a safer, more potent form of chemotherapy for solid and hematological cancers. Coupling nanotech with radiation and immunotherapy is on the horizon. As physicians increasingly adopt genomic sequencing and targeted approaches in the coming decade, look for a significant increase in cancer survivors.