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You don't have to be rich to get your medicine personalized

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

By Xin Lian


Personalized medicine is recognized as a revolutionary method of providing healthcare that customizes medical interventions and treatments to each patient based on their particular genetic, environmental, and lifestyle features. In short terms, personalized medicine is revolutionizing healthcare by shifting from a one-size-fits-all approach to individualized treatments.


Principles coming from genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and other omics technologies are at the heart of personalized medicine. These principles allow for a thorough comprehension of a person's molecular makeup and how it affects disease onset, progression, and treatment response. For instance, genomic research enables the discovery of genetic variants that may predispose people to particular diseases or influence how they respond to particular treatments. One example includes one of the most common drugs, aspirin. It can have varying effects based on your genes. Most people take a daily aspirin to lower their risk for heart attack and stroke because it prevents blood clots. However, aspirin doesn’t reduce heart disease risk in everyone. Through a study with a different clot-fighting drug known as clopidogrel, it has been shown that a significant portion of the Amish people had a particular gene variation that reduced their sensitivity to clopidogrel, which was also common in about one third of the population. This finding promotes new appropriate labels to be put on these drugs for the different gene variations. In this way, personalized medicine aims to deliver more accurate and effective targeted interventions by deciphering these complex molecular systems. To add on, the use of molecular profiling in cancer, for example, enables the identification of certain genetic abnormalities in tumors, assisting in the selection of tailored medicines that can enhance therapeutic success and minimize unneeded side effects. Similar to this, personalized medicine in cardiology uses genetic testing to identify those who are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems, allowing for early intervention and specifically designed prevention treatments. Other applications in neurology, infectious diseases, and other areas show how personalized medicine has the potential to improve patient care in a variety of medical specialties.


Patients, healthcare professionals, and the healthcare system as a whole can all benefit from personalized medicine in a number of important ways. It is not difficult to get a genetics test in order to test for up to 2,500 diseases and to test for specific genes to know which prescription the doctor should give you so that there is less trial and error of medication. In other words, personalized medicine tries to enhance treatment outcomes by adjusting therapies to individual features. More efficient interventions can be given to patients, improving illness management and quality of life. Additionally, personalized medicine improves patient safety by minimizing the possibility of side effects and doing away with the practice of selecting treatments through trial and error. Additionally, it has the ability to optimize resource use, lower long-term healthcare costs, and streamline healthcare delivery.


Personalized medicine has a lot of potential, but it also has several obstacles to overcome before it can be successfully incorporated into healthcare systems. Given the sensitivity of genetic and personal health data, data privacy and security are major issues. Careful thought must be given to ethical issues such informed consent, genetic discrimination, and equal access to tailored medicines. The integration of customized medicine into current healthcare workflows, the requirement for interdisciplinary cooperation, and the training of healthcare workers also present difficulties that call for continued work.


The traditional one-size-fits-all healthcare model is being transformed by personalized medicine, which represents a revolutionary approach to healthcare. Personalized medicine enables healthcare professionals to give targeted interventions that improve effectiveness and decrease risks by taking into account an individual's particular genetic, environmental, and lifestyle variables. The integration of cutting-edge technologies and a thorough grasp of molecular pathways have made it possible for personalized medicine to be used in a variety of medical disciplines. Personalized medicine has enormous promise to improve patient outcomes, despite ongoing obstacles.


References:

Personalized medicine. Genome.gov. (n.d.). https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Personalized-Medicine


Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Personalized medicine: A biological approach to patient treatment. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/news-events-human-drugs/personalized-medicine-biological-approach-patient-treatment


Collins, F. S., & Varmus, H. (2015). A new initiative on precision medicine. The New England journal of medicine, 372(9), 793-795. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp1500523


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, January 17). Personalized medicine. National Institutes of Health. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/12/personalized-medicine


Hamburg, M. A: & Collins, F. S. (2010). The path to personalized medicine. The New England journal of medicine, 363(4), 301-304. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp1006304


Schork N. J. (2015). Personalized medicine: Time for one-person trials. Nature, 520(7549), 609-611. https://doi.org/10.1038/520609a


Ashley E. A. (2016). Towards precision medicine. Nature reviews. Genetics, 17(9), 507-522.


Lee, M. S., Flammer, A. J., Leman, L. O., & Lerman, A. (2012). Personalized medicine in cardiovascular diseases. Korean circulation journal, 42(9), 583-591. https://doi.org/10.4070/kci.2012.42.9.583



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