When it comes to the application of medicine to any type of disease, the basic approach is one-size-fits all application. Even if this method was used for many years, it is not really an effective way to treat certain diseases.
And the problem is that not all people are made with the same genetic makeup, so you need variety when it comes to medicine. That is why this approach to personalized medicine is becoming more popular among health experts.
We take a closer look at personalized medicine and how it should be applied for diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Personalized Medicine?
It is the tailoring of certain types of medicine that are used for and adapted to the specific characteristics of an individual patient. It can be seen as an extension of the traditional methods that are used to help understand the treatment of a particular disease.
This is also a form of medicine that will provide information on the patient’s own genetic setup as well as proteins. This information will then be used to help prevent, diagnose, or treat a specific disease in a certain patient.
In the case of cancer, this type of medicine uses specific information about a tumor to help make a diagnosis. It will also help determine how well a treatment works, plan treatment, and help make a prognosis.
Some examples of this personalized medicine will include targeted therapies that will help treat specific types of cancer cells. Her2 is one of these specific types of breast cancer cells that can be targeted in these types of therapies.
Another method is to use tumor marker tests to help in the diagnosis of certain cancer cells in a patient. This is also called precision medicine by some medical experts, but they are all just the same type of medicine.
Because each person in the world has a different genetic makeup, traditional treatments will often not help as they should with tailored medicine. But with personalized medicine, will help to provide more customized health care as well as treatment for each individual patient.
The Benefits Of Precision Medicine
Throughout the history of medicine, health experts have always used reactive treatment for all types of diseases in humans. That means you first need to get the disease, and then you can get diagnosed and get some type of treatment for it.
The treatments used for the disease may have been tested on the broad population and have general outcomes. So it is not really meant for your specific genetic setup and might or might not work to treat the disease.
And as it is with all medications that are available on the market today, it will only really work for about 50 percent of patients. This is not a good picture, and there is no proof that any type of medicine for specific diseases will work for you.
Personalized medicine, on the other hand, will be tailored to your specific genetic makeup and might provide better results as a treatment. It is also beginning to overcome the limitations that are involved with traditional types of medicine because they are based on genetic makeup.
Following is a list of most of the benefits that are attached to personalized medicine for better health care purposes.
- It will shift the emphasis from reactive to preventative treatments of the medicine.
- This will also help to predict the susceptibility of a person to certain diseases.
- With this type of method, it will also help to improve disease detection in patients.
- Personalized medicine will also help to deter the progression of diseases.
- Health professionals will also be able to provide prevention strategies for diseases.
- Another great benefit is that medical experts will be able to prescribe more effective medicine.
- They will also be able to avoid the prescription of medication that has known side effects to certain patients.
- It will also reduce the time and cost as well as the failure rate of pharmaceutical trials.
- This will also help to reduce trial-and error inefficiencies and keep the cost of treatments down.
- With personalized medicine, it will also minimize the undermining of patient care.
Genetics And Medical Practice
Much research has been done that is related to the subject of genetics and certain associated diseases. The genetic makeup of a person, together with external factors such as diet and activities, may contribute to specific traits.
Many different professionals are using powerful statistical tools to mine considerable databases to generate better insights into genetic complexity. These results also provide a lot of new insights into how genetic makeup drives certain diseases and other health issues related to genes.
All this research will also help those medical experts who use personalized medicine targeting an individual’s genetic composition. And it will give them an edge when they try to provide the right type of medication for certain diseases.
Some of these researchers are deciphering the network of genes controlling HDR levels in the blood. This will help them determine why certain genetic compositions have more bad cholesterol than other genetic makeup and help treat it.
Research also helped these health professionals explain why certain people will react better to certain medicines than other people. And that will then prevent them from providing the wrong medication for certain diseases to the wrong patients and help them get better.
They are also doing research with many other types of diseases such as diabetes and other gene-related diseases for better treatment of patients. So with the right knowledge of the specific genetic makeup of a person, better treatment can be provided and faster recovery is expected.
Because medical experts do not really understand genetics and environmental factors behind certain diseases, they need to do more research. This also includes major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes to provide more effective treatments and preventative methods with personalized medicine.
For generations, medical experts were aware that certain medicines work better for certain people with a specific genetic makeup. However they still do not really understand why people react differently to a variety of treatments for certain diseases.
The primary cause of this is that people inherit variations in their genes, and these slight variations may cause different reactions. That is why the same treatment for a parent might not really be very effective in treating the same type of disease in a child.
So gene testing became quite necessary when it came to the treatment of gene-related diseases such as cancer and diabetes. New technologies have been used to determine the reaction to variations in the genetic makeup of certain people and their reactions to treatments.
A new field of study called pharmacogenetics has spawned from this new technology that deals with the variable responses in individual patients. Without getting too technical, this new field of study simply concentrates on methods to determine why certain people react differently to treatments.
Examples Of Personalized Medicine
One of the earliest examples of personalized medicine comes in the form of trastuzumab, which effectively treats breast cancer. More than 30 percent of patients with breast cancer have a form that over-expresses the protein called HER2.
This protein does not respond to traditional cancer treatments or standard therapies that are used with breast cancer. However when trastuzumab is used together with chemotherapy, it has been shown to reduce recurrence in more than 52 percent of breast cancer patients.
Another good example is melanoma, where BRAF is the human gene that is responsible for the production of the BRAF protein. This protein is involved in sending signals to cells to direct cell growth, and it is found to be mutated in cancer.
A medicine called Vemurafenib, which is a B-RAF protein inhibitor that is accompanied by the V600E mutation, was approved for testing. Treatments only worked with patients who were testing positive for the V600E mutation, and that is around 60 percent of the patients.
It is also used with heart transplants, where a gene expression profiling test is performed to identify the probability of rejection of a transplanted organ. So instead of just transplanting the heart, the test will determine in advance whether the patient will reject the newly transplanted heart.
With the use of personalized medicine, the variations in genes as well as biomarkers in the blood can be used to predict heart failure risks. This will also help to show how a patient might respond to a variety of treatments.
Advancement in treatments for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has also indicated that personalized medicine can make a difference. This means that knowledge of gene variations in patients, can be used to prevent dementia.
There is also some advancement with the treatment of Venous Thromboembolism in patients by using personalized medicine. That is because VTE is caused mostly by environmental and genetic factors, and that is the basis of personalized medicine.
With personalized medicine, it will be able to determine with genetic tests if a person will get a particular disease or not. This will help prevent the person from getting the disease in the first place, and that will save a lot of other health issues.
Some of these genetically related diseases, such as diabetes, can be predetermined, and measures can be taken to prevent it from occurring. Previously physicians made use of simple family history testing to determine the chances of someone getting diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
But with the advancement of this type of medicine, it can be determined if a patient will get the disease by looking at their genetic makeup. This will make things much more accessible and allow medical experts to take the right preventative measures before the disease occurs.
As you can see, this type of medicine will help to keep the patient healthy and keep the costs of reactive medication down. In the long run, this genetic testing and personalized medicine will help to improve the overall health of many people.
The single most important fact that we need to take a look at is the chance for a patient to be treated and cared for even before they get the disease, allowing them to prevent illnesses rather than cure them.