Computational Biology Molecular Medicine

Personalized Medicine

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Personalized medicine is the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient. The approach depends on scientific breakthroughs in the understanding of how a person’s unique molecular and genetic profile makes them susceptible to some diseases. This understanding is increasing our ability to predict which medical treatments will be safe and effective for each patient, and which ones will not be.

Personalized medicine is also known as precision medicine that is a medical model that separates people into different groups with medical decisions, practices, interventions and products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. The terms personalized medicine; precision medicine, stratified medicine and P4 medicine are used interchangeably to describe this concept though some authors and organizations use these expressions separately to indicate particular nuances. 

In personalized medicine, diagnostic testing is often used for selecting appropriate and optimal therapies based on the context of a patient’s genetic content or other molecular or cellular analysis. The use of genetic information has played a major role in some aspects of personalized medicine (e.g. pharmacogenomics), and the term was first coined in the context of genetics, though it has since broadened to encompass all sorts of personalization measures, including the use of proteomics, imaging analysis, nanoparticle-based theranostics, among others.

Personalized medicine may be considered an extension of traditional approaches to understanding and treating disease. Equipped with tools that are more precise, physicians can select a therapy or treatment protocol based on a patient’s molecular profile that may not only minimize harmful side effects and ensure a more successful outcome, but can also help contain costs compared with a “trial-and-error” approach to disease treatment.

Applications

In Breast Cancer: One of the earliest and most common examples of personalized medicine came in trastuzumab. About 30% of patients with breast cancer have a form that over-expresses a protein called HER2, which is not responsive to standard therapy.

In Cardiovascular Disease: Previous to the development of a gene expression profiling test to identify heart transplant recipients’ probability of rejecting a transplanted organ, the primary method for managing heart transplant rejection was the invasive technique of endo-myocardial biopsy, a heart biopsy. Today, a genetic diagnostic test is performed on a blood sample, providing a non-invasive test to help manage the care of patients post-transplant. 

Benefits

  • Diagnosis and intervention
  • shift the emphasis in medicine from reaction to prevention
  • predict susceptibility to disease
  • improve disease detection
  • prevent disease progression
  • customize disease-prevention strategies
  • prescribe more effective drugs
  • avoid prescribing drugs with predictable side effects
  • reduce the time, cost, and failure rate of pharmaceutical clinical trials
  • eliminate trial-and-error inefficiencies that inflate health care costs and undermine patient care

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