Precision Medicine

No two sick people are exactly alike, even when they have similar and matching symptoms.

For instance, two people with influenza at the same time don’t necessarily have the exact same symptoms with the same timing or same durations. The medicines they take may not even have matching results.

Precision medicine is based on allowing laboratory analysis of a person’s individual genetic makeup in order to target specific medicines based on that person’s specific needs.

The cost of sequencing the genomes of individual persons is falling, or rather becoming less expensive by the day. There is now a wide range of data available about a person’s genetic and biochemical makeup, and much of it based on their separate environments and lifestyles.

Medicines have personal predictive aspects, so it is no longer impossible to fine-tune and resolve health issues with medicines that are formulated based on complex personal biology and environmental and ecological populations.

Some of the uses of precision medicines are for diagnosing and preventing genetic diseases, for cancer diagnosis and treatment, medicine toxicity, and for population health data.

Medical technology is opening the door for significant improvements in the way we treat patients with everything from short-term manageable health problems to rare micro-single-gene disorders and traumatic illnesses that are nearly impossible to gain control of, even cancers. “Average” patient and one-size-fits-all medical treatment plans are becoming obsolete, and according to archived data on President Barack Obama’s medical initiatives on healthcare and outcomes, this is a good thing for all concerned.

In precision (predictive?) medicine, privacy is always a concern. Data for particular characteristics of genetic information is sensitive but may be open to public examination.

According to ‘Horizon Scanning Series: The Future of Precision Medicine in Australia / Legal and Regulatory Issues of Precision Medicine’ prepared by Professor Dianne Nicol and Professor Margaret Otlowski at the Centre for Law and Genetics, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania, “The challenge for researchers charged with protecting the privacy of genetic information is reflected in Chapter 3.2 of the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research, which states: ‘With advances in genetic knowledge and data linkage, and the proliferation of tissue banks of identified material, human tissue samples should always be regarded as, in principle, re-identifiable.’”

Crisis management is now an art and good health is a science.

With precision medicine, good futures in health practice and outcomes are guaranteed.

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About the Author: BJ Hetherington

BJ is the lead editor of Meical Daily Times. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions. BJ is a graduate of York University In Toronto. When BJ isn't busy writing his next piece, he can often be found running the streets of the GTA.

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