Sunday, August 25, 2013

Geographic variances in breast cancer

Recently a  new strain of triple negative breast cancer was found in Ghanian women. This is a strain that is not found elsewhere. The result - a new treatment needs to be developed.

It is a fact that different groups - ethnic and racial - are diagnosed with different diseases or types of diseases at different rates. For example Ashkenazi Jewish women develop breast cancer at a higher rate than other women.

But I have never heard of a new variant of cancer being diagnosed by geographic area.

This opens a whole new direction for cancer research. Women from different parts of the world could be influenced by their local genetic, food, and environmental factors which could skew research results. I don't know how much this is taken into account by the pharmaceutical industry.

I do know that drugs are developed and tested world wide and then start getting approvals from the FDA and its counter parts in other countries. To be eligible for these clinical trials, patients have to meet specific criteria. The rates of clinical trial participation vary from city to city, state to state, and country to country, for a variety of reasons. But this means it is possible that patients who do not meet the criteria could have specific variances in their disease that are not noted.

Am I making sense? Sometimes I wonder.

The point I am trying to make is does current cancer research focus on the big groups that fit into the clinical trial criteria and not take into account the little subgroups that are now being discovered?

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