Through computer simulation a virtual healthy cell can be created. The researchers can then change the healthy cell into a cancerous one by distorting it's normal metabolic pathway. Long story short, changing the cells properties to those that are found in cancerous cells. Once the healthy cell becomes the cancerous cell, it is then known as the patients "cancer avatar". Since no two cancers are alike, it has been difficult of for researchers to determine which drugs will do more good than harm. Researchers say that it does not make much sense to give patients the same types of drugs if their cancer types are different. Certain drugs may be beneficial for one type of cancer, but do more harm for another type. The computer simulation allows for the computer model to determine which drugs can kill the cancerous cell based on the cells function. I find that fascinating! So those who have brain cancer versus those who have lung cancer can receive the best treatment and drugs based on function of the cell rather than just distributing the drug because it may work due to it being a drug for cancer. Not only will patients be able to get a more personalized treatment for their type of cancer, but also receive treatment in a faster, more cost efficient way. Cancer research continues to proceed forward!
To learn more about cancer avatars and how the researchers conducted their study read the article titled: Cancer avatars for personalized medicine help researchers find genomic signatures of cancers