THE INVENTION OF 2007 most likely to help people is MammaPrint, a genetic print of a cancerous tumour. By getting a genomic profile, specialists can better determine the kind of spread most likely from the cancer. The 70-gene screen, developed by Amsterdam-based Agendia, is the first DNA test approved by the Federal Drug Administration to measure genes at work. Cancer occurs when our genetic information mutates. These genetic alterations in turn cause inappropriate growth of the cells and thus lead to proliferation of the cancer cells in the affected tissue. I am highly susceptible to this malady and plan to use genomic profiling to get me through the year 2035. If I don't explore something like MammaPrint, I will be done and dusted within 25 years. My fate is already in my genes and I know that from a battery of tests run in the early 90s by the US military. I thought about these things during Science Week Ireland.
There is no standard treatment for cancer. Treatments vary on unique situations, which is why misdiagnoses in Ireland are so disheartening. My dad's cancer was confined to a single site and treated with chemotherapy and drugs. But no one gave him more than a decade from initial discovery and that's what he got in the end. Doctors judge the aggressiveness of a cancer by a number of tumor characteristics, including the “grade” of the cancer as determined by microscopic evaluation. The estimated aggressiveness of the cancer determines the subsequent course of treatment. MammaPrint is a tool to help doctors determine how aggressive a breast cancer is and hence to choose the optimal therapy for any given patient.