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The future lies in personalised medicine

140 years of innovation

The future lies in personalised medicine

Roche is driving the development of personalized medicine. Instead of standard therapies, each patient should receive, as far as possible, a therapy that is tailored to the individual disease. In cancer therapy in particular, drugs and therapies are used in a targeted manner in this way.  


“One tablet for one disease” has long been the motto of medicine. Today, therapies can increasingly be tailored to the needs of each individual patient. Thanks to intensive research, we're constantly learning more about individual illnesses and can account for the fact that everybody is unique - owing to their genes, environment, lifestyle and medical history. In cancer research in particular it has become clear that tumours aren't uniform diseases, even when they attack the same organs. Personalised medicine has the potential to treat illnesses more selectively and successfully, to minimise the side effects, and to reduce the costs of healthcare.

How does cancer develop?

Cancer is caused by changes to our genes. Cancer cells can develop because of damage to our DNA - whether inherited or caused by external influences. If these cells continue to divide uncontrollably, a tumour develops. As these genetic changes can be very different individually, traditional cancer therapy helps one patient but has no effect on or can even damage another.

Genetic tests help to find the right therapy

Cancer or tumour markers are specific biological substances that can describe the features of a tumour. By examining these biomarkers, forecasts can be made about the effects of a specific therapy. In this way, medication and therapy can be applied in a targeted manner. This is the foundation for personalised medicine. Genetic tests provide important focal points for the treatment of different types of cancer.

More treatment success with personalised medicine

Roche has set itself the goal of pushing ahead with the development of personalised medicine. To be successful in this ambition, we need selectively acting medication, knowledge about the patient groups for whom they will work, and the option to identify these patient groups. Roche is a leader in all three these areas and is committed to researching and developing innovative medication and diagnostic procedures.

Data analysis is essential for personalised medicine

In Switzerland, Roche with the support of the Zurich University Hospital has established a unique laboratory for molecular tumour profiling. Here, comprehensive genetic tumour profiles can be developed, which enable a very precise diagnosis and individualised treatment of cancer. In a comprehensive database, the results are compared to the outcomes of countless other types of cancer. In this way, each patient benefits from existing knowledge while at the same time contributing to its constant proliferation. The post-analysis report that is made available to the doctor describes the genetic profile of the tissue and identifies the options for treatment. 


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