At the Cancer Center Amsterdam – the clinical-oncological research department of the Free University medical center (VUmc CCA) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands – research* is being done on the development of ´Personalized Medicine´: a therapy, that is based on the characteristics of each individual patient having a specific type of cancer.
*In this research the VUmc CCA-team works closely together with prominent pioneers in this area like the cancer- research-teams of Harvard University in Boston, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (both USA) and the Stellenbosch University in Cape Town (SA).
These days the usual approach to helping cancer patients is still based on the traditional principle of ´which type of cancer has the patient and which therapy is currently available for this type of cancer?´. So the basis for the therapy is the type of cancer, not the ´type´ of patient. The success of those therapies is varying. Furthermore: traditional treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery often have serious to severe side-effects, which affect the patients´ quality of life in various degrees.
The VUmc CCA-team and its colleagues abroad decided to turn the question around to ´who is the patient, what are his/her physical characteristics, what is the type of cancer – so: what is the best therapy for this individual patient?´. If they succeed in finding the right answer to this question the expectation is, that cancer-fighting treatments will be more successful, so patients all over the world will have a better chance of healing – or at least experience more quality of life.
In order to find the right answer to this question, a lot of research needs to be done – and research needs money, a lot of money. That is why Luc sails around the world……..