This is a very nice story, but it makes me sad. The guy (Lukas Wartma) was lucky to be working at a genomic centre and was practically saved by his colleagues, but what about all other cancer patients who not so fortunate and do not have such access to cutting edge science?
Ironically this story is not unique in one aspect – everybody gave up on this patient! Even when potentially life-saving drug was identified by his colleagues the insurance company refused to pay for it, and Pfizer, as any other pharma company, was not ready to risk potential drug failure for a successful drug. Pfizer’s change of mind came only after the clinical trial with n=1 actually worked and Dr. Wartman survived with a spectacular remission, which by the way is typical when such targeted therapies actually work.
Unfortunately, publicly funded Canadian healthcare system is very slow to adopt new technologies and with this pace it will take decades to get Personalized Medicine in the clinics going…. I think that patients and their families should be more vocal and demand such advanced testing from their providers. Only patient activism can introduce the change, otherwise the pharmacogenetic disease testing will remain only for the rich….