Precision medicine, the concept of giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time, is flourishing in cancer treatment. But there is a blind spot: children are not benefiting enough from the progress we’re making.
We need a full-scale renaissance in pediatric drug development and care. And we need it now.
For too long, children have been treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. But as we learn that the biology of cancer is different in children than it is in adults — driven by different mechanisms and with different mutations — there is a pressing need for therapies designed just for children. It is time to change the standard of care for pediatric cancer patients. We need to rely less on chemotherapies that damage healthy cells, which can leave survivors with lifelong health challenges, and advance safer, more effective treatments based on precision medicine that target cancer precisely without harming the rest of the body.
I believe that precision medicine is the path forward for progress in treating pediatric cancer. But it will take a full-scale, global effort to deploy it.
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