Testing patients’ genetic makeup could be used in a pioneering new cancer treatment which seeks to provide bespoke drug regimes based on genetic propensity. “Scientists are developing a genetic test that may tell the difference between cancer patients who are likely to respond to treatment with a powerful anti-tumour drug and those people for whom the drug will be useless. The test should allow doctors to prescribe drugs only to those people who are likely to benefit from the medicines rather than giving them – and their side-effects – to a wide range of patients in the knowledge that only some individuals will respond to the treatment. A way of distinguishing between patients who are ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’ to drugs is seen as one of the most important developments in modern medicine. ‘Personalised’ treatment based on the analysis of a person's DNA is considered one of the key achievements that will emerge from the decoding of the human genome. The researchers have identified six genes that are critical to the proper functioning of the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel, known by the brand name Taxol, which is widely used in the treatment of breast cancer prior to surgery.”