30 July, 2021


Your genes will foretell your ­vulnerabilities and Indian labs have begun to see the future. Thus forewarned, new ­therapies are the closest ever to a cure.

Photograph by Alamy

Medical reality has moved on to a host of new possibilities today that give us cause for optimism in the face of what, for long, was sure, painful death. Beckoning on the frontier are not just qualitatively new treatment options for the killer disease, but early detection of vulnerability itself.

At the heart of these advancements is a better understanding of cancers at the molecular level. Doctors now look at cancer as a disease of the genes, not of the affected organs. Our genes need to be decoded daily for us to function. Sometimes, there is a ‘misfeeding’ and a wrong code gets generated, causing cells to divide uncontrollably. That’s what we call cancer.

Now, the good news. Cutting-edge recent advancements, such as immuno-oncology and the discovery of at least 50 new drugs, have now enabled what doctors call ‘targeted the­rapies’. Enthusiasts say it’s the closest thing to a cure. Some targeted therapies are, in fact, sharp-focused enough to att­ack only cancer cells, sparing the body of dangerous...

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