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Genetic testing boosts efficacy in cancer care

USA Today, January 16, 2009

Tailoring cancer therapies to fit a person's genetic makeup could spare thousands of patients from harmful side effects and save millions of dollars a year, a study shows. Treating a colorectal cancer patient with a drug called Erbitux, for example, costs more than $61,000 for a typical treatment with 24 doses, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. But over the past year or so, several studies have shown neither Erbitux or Vectibix works in patients with a certain genetic mutation. Giving Erbitux only to patients without the mutations would save the country up to $604 million a year, researchers said.