Here at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center we've been involved in work that's looking at identifying the different genes and pathways that are driving individual cancers.
And what we've found is the previous one-size-fits-all approach for the major cancers, including and especially breast cancer, really aren't as effective as they could be when you really understand the subgroups or the subclasses of the disease.
When you do make that understanding then you can start to design your therapy very specifically for what's driving the cancer and develop something that's: a) more effective and b) less toxic.
That was certainly the hope and that's what we've proven to be the case in the case of the HER2-positive breast cancers, which are about 20-25 percent of all human breast cancers.
We found that a new targeted therapy, Herceptin, can be extremely effective and much more effective than anything we've previously used in the last five decades.
I think that paradigm is gonna repeat itself again and again as we work on other subtypes of breast cancer as well as the other major cancers that face us as physicians and patients.