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  • Writer's pictureDr. Robert A. Nagourney, MD

Functional Profiling vs. Functional Medicine: What’s the Difference?

At The Nagourney Cancer Institute, we take a different approach to the treatment of cancer – one that is based on profiling how our patients’ cancerous cells will respond to drugs and combinations before they receive treatment.

Our approach is called “functional profiling.” Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, this technique offers truly individualized treatments. Used exclusively in oncology it is defined as a laboratory technique that assesses the response of cancer cells to various drug treatments.

The information we get from functional profiling allows us to develop more precise treatment approaches and plans for each patient that accounts for their individual biology. This can lead to more effective treatments and more durable clinical benefits.

What is the difference between Functional Profiling and Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine, on the other hand, is an approach to medical care that seeks to incorporate the interaction of an individual’s genome with their environment, diet, and lifestyle. The practitioners take a “holistic” approach to patient management that can be applied to many fields of medicine.

Functional medicine is entirely different from cancer-functional- profiling as it is a medical philosophy that does not use cancer cell studies to choose chemotherapies but instead offers a more global approach to all medical conditions. Functional medicine seeks to sponsor overall health by supporting immune function, using healthy eating, mind-body therapy, meditation, yoga, and lifestyle modification.

While there is a growing interest in functional medicine and integrative cancer care, with synergies between the fields, the ability to select and deliver patient specific-cancer-therapies is unique to Functional Profiling and the two disciplines should not be confused.

Can Lifestyle Changes Affect Cancer Treatment?

Of course, eating healthy, supporting the immune system, and partaking in mind-body therapy are all helpful things to incorporate into one’s life – and especially into a cancer treatment plan – but they are best used as valuable adjuncts to effective cancer therapy.

Functional profiling can provide a patient the opportunity to receive the right treatment the first time and anytime thereafter when the choice of active drugs can mean the difference between a good response and disease progression.

In published studies, we have shown that functional profiling can significantly improve response and progression-free survival. Cancer patients deserve the right treatment. Find out more about functional profiling and how it can help you or a loved one with cancer.

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