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The Future Is Here: The What and Why of Personalized Medicine

Do you remember all those space age movies where characters were healed by futuristic science which could tell what their individual cells needed? Well, this kind of fantastic dream might be on its way to becoming a reality sooner than you think.


The Future Is Here. The What and Why of Personalized Medicine

What Is Personalized Medicine?

Personalized medicine moves away from what’s called the “one size fits all” approach to medicine. Personalized healthcare is a way for scientists and doctors to adapt and optimize healthcare to each individual’s unique genetic makeup. It works to create more “precise, predictable and powerful medicine—customized for the individual patient,” says Genetic Health.jax.org. Because doctors have a deeper understanding of genetics, they are able to provide improved diagnoses, prescribe drugs more safely, and choose the most effective treatments.

Don’t Wait to Be Reactive

Traditionally, medicine is a reactive measure. It tries to heal after a disease or illness has begun. Game into a proactive approach to wellness. It shifts to prevention by allowing doctors to predict a person’s susceptibility to specific diseases.

Other benefits of this individualized model include:

•Eliminating trial and error prescription

•Reducing time and failure rate in clinical trials

•Prescribing the most effective medicine

•Predicting side effects more accurately

“Personalized medicine stands poised to transform healthcare over the next several decades,” writes the Personalized Medicine Coalition. And this is because of the ability to see and utilize information about genetic variations from patient to patient. In fact, it is already at work. Some breast cancer and colon cancer patients are being molecularly tested to identify which new treatments they will most benefit from. Other patients who may have inherited a problematic cardiac history can be tested genetically to find the best hypertension treatments possible.

The Future

Is Here The futuristic age of Hollywood dramas like Star Trek is here, writes Margaret A.Hamburg, the commissioner of the FDA. She says that “advances in the science of drug development, the study of genes and their functions, the availability of increasingly powerful computers and other technologies, combined with our greater understanding of the complexity of the disease, makes it possible to tailor treatments.” The FDA commissioner believes that “cooperative efforts,” including “the full force of government, private industry, academia, and other concerned stakeholders” will lead to the full realization of personalized medicine in the near future. Science Daily agrees, reporting that current technology allows for a person’s genome to be sequenced in one week for about $5,000.

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