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Good morning, wherever you may be listening to us on HealthRadio Network. I'm Andrew Schorr here week after week to talk about important health issues, certain diagnoses and also things that we're thinking about, where medicine is headed and what a difference it makes to you and the people you care about. That's what we're going to do today. You know, I am a 10-year leukemia survivor, almost 11 years, and I was in a clinical trial and it way it worked for me and the way people are now getting the treatment I got in the clinical trial, people around the world, is what they did is they combined some chemotherapy drugs, kind of poisons for the cancer cell, two of them, with a targeted therapy, what they call a monoclonal antibody, that would just go after ideally the kind of cancer cells that I was developing in my blood and so kind of worked together to kill those cancer cells, and they did. And while I'm not sure that I'm cured, I'm leading a normal life, and I take no medicine. And so those were very effective drugs for the biology of my cancer.
And there are other examples. Like for instance in the last year or two they've had, in breast cancer they've known that there are different tumor types. One type that affects about 25 percent of the women is called HER-2/neu positive breast cancer tumors. As I said, the minority of women have it, but it used to be seen as one of the more aggressive breast cancers, a worst breast cancer diagnosis. But what if you could make a medicine that's right for those women, for the biology of their sub type of breast cancer. So they did, and now we're finding that using more of that medicine over a longer time is vastly changing the outlook to those women, a drug called Herceptin.
And then there are other examples too. In immunology are there certain autoimmune conditions where the way your immune system is operating inappropriately, there are certain switches that get turned on that shouldn't be. Well, what if you had a drug that could flip that switch off without doing anything else, without weakening your immune system or making you likely to have cancer or an infection or another illness, but just turn off that inappropriate switch that's on. Just do that. Because that's the way your body has gotten a little out of kilter. Well, as we begin to talk about it, these are concepts of what we call personalized medicine, and that is give you not just the one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter approach that medicine has often done because we didn't know any better but do what's right for your exact situation and your situation at the time.
Well, I'm very proud that the school where I went and again just as a student, not as a medical student because I am not a doctor even though a lot of people right me and they say Dr. Schorr, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has led the way in opening up an institute for pharmacogenomics and individualized therapy. And it's through the school of pharmacy and works with the school of medicine. And the man who runs it is a doctor of pharmacy, Howard McLeod. So Howard has agreed to be with us it today to help us understand this whole idea of personalized medicine.
So Howard, welcome from Chapel Hill. Thank you for being with us. I've got my UNC hat on today.
Thank you very much, and I'm glad to see you have a good taste in wear.
There you go. So, Howard, so this institute that you opened up in August in Chapel Hill, well, this is where medicine is going, right? There must be other centers like this.