September 17, 2015
By: Don Dean, Spartanburg, South Carolina
One tumor is a difficult thing to face. Imagine having nearly 100.
Like my father, aunt, uncle and other relatives, I have a very rare hereditary condition where a mutation in what is called the MET gene causes cancerous tumors to continuously grow in my kidneys. Since my first visit to the National Institutes of Health in 1992, I’ve had to have one kidney removed and nearly 100 tumors excised from the other.
I lost my father and other relatives to this disease, but thanks to new advances in medicine, that doesn’t have to be my fate.
What I did not know at the time was that I was to be part of cutting edge science and medical care that’s become known as Precision Medicine. Precision medicine refers to treatments, therapies, and care tailored to individual patients. By looking at people’s specific genes and lifestyles, doctors and scientists, like those at NIH, can get the right treatment to the right person.