This past week, news quickly spread that the genome of a cancer patient was mapped at Washington University. This opens up new possibilities for cancer research and treatment. ABC News reports:

Researchers are now trying to identify all the genetic mistakes that can cause lung, brain and ovarian cancers, with the hope of one day being able to identify each and every cancer patient’s unique genetic make-up with a simple blood test.

These new genetic cancer “codes” will not only help develop more targeted drugs in the future, but they’ll also improve how existing cancer medications are used today.

Doctors will likely be able to customize patients’ care by consulting their genes and spot aggressive cases well in advance.

This research will help doctors when “… deciding which patients get which treatment, which patients need more treatment, which patients are more likely to have their cancer come back,” said Dr. Ross Levine of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. “It’s incredibly transformative in the clinical arena, right away.”

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