Theranostics (a portmanteau of therapeutics and diagnostics) is a proposed process of diagnostic therapy for individual patients - to test them for possible reaction to taking a new medication and to tailor a treatment for them based on the test results.
In 2011 advancements were made in the field of theranostics with the development of novel heptamethine dyes IR-808 and other analogs which are currently being explored for their unique uses in the individualized treatment of cancerous patients with the aid of PDT, co-administration with other drugs, and irradiation.
Pharmacogenomics, the identification of “the genetic basis of variability in drug efficacy and safety” used to identify the preferred pharmacotherapy in cancer sufferers, as a standard of biotechnology in cancer biomarker research is being replaced by Theranostics as the standard of biotechnology. Theranostics represents the “fusion of therapeutics and diagnostics.” Combining diagnostic testing to identify the most efficacious pharmacological therapy in the same process increases safety and effectiveness in the patient’s overall treatment. This is a natural advancement in medical research, as Theranostics focuses on “the integration of information from diverse biomarkers” rather than the single marker approach of Pharmacogenomics. The new approach is supported by the genomics and metabolics technologies in bioresearch.
Two of the most common tests used are the (Dako) HercepTest ® and Genentech’s Herceptin ® both of which test for the overexpression of Her2. The HercepTest combines chemical indicators (staining agents sensitive to certain tissue types) and a histological examination of tissues to establish the presence and magnitude of the HER2 protein. The over-expression of the Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2 (HER2 or Her2neuor c-erbB-2) glycoprotein is an indicator of cancer affected tissue. The results of the test indicate both the presence or absence of cancerous tissue and the potential for effective treatment with Herceptin®. Only Her2+ patients will be treated with Herceptin therapy (trastuzumab)
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