Our story (yesterday) on basing the choice of cancer drugs on the particular gene mutation in a tumor (gene sequencing), instead of the tumor type, prompted a reader response.
Dr. Dennis Powell, a former director of oncology research at Wyeth had this to say:
This is a real Hail Mary approach, but represents the future of personalized medicine sequencing the genome of either your normal cells or your mutated cells to find what these cells might best respond to.
It, of course relies upon the validation of the concept that people with AT LEAST this mutation sequence will respond to a given drug (which will still have its own side effects). In essence, you match profile (gene) with profile (drug). The biggest hurdle, as mentioned by the authors, is the lack of controls, which may cause a real problem for the FDA if an experimental drug that has not been FDA-approved is found to be effective. If the drug is already approved I imagine a new indication either on label or off label would be possible.