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Prescription vs Precision Medicine
By Jeya Chelliah B.Vsc Ph.D
Why personalized medicine?
To date, medical treatment is usually designed to be beneficial for the average patient. However, since many diseases can be divided into multiple subtypes, each with a unique genetic profile, such a "onesize-fits-all" approach is not always effective. Physicians often employ a trial and error strategy until the most effective drug is found for a particular patient. Such an approach can be a high burden for patients, both physically and mentally.
Complement inhibition: a promising concept for cancer treatment
The complement system helps or "complements" the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear pathogens from an organism. The complement system consists of a number of small proteins found in the blood, generally synthesized by the liver, and normally circulating as inactive precursors (pro-proteins). When stimulated by one of the several triggers, proteases in the system cleave specific proteins to release cytokines and initiate an amplifying cascade of further cleavages. The end result of this activation cascade is a massive amplification of the response and activation of the cell-killing membrane attack complex. Over 25 proteins and protein fragments make up the complement system, including serum proteins, serosal proteins, and cell membrane receptors. They account for about 5% of the globulin fraction of blood serum.
For decades, complement has been recognized as an effector arm of the immune system that contributes to the destruction of tumor cells. In fact, many therapeutic strategies have been proposed that are based on the intensification of complement-mediated responses against tumors. However, recent studies have challenged this paradigm by demonstrating a tumor-promoting role for complement.