A Look At Personalized Medicine And Its Benefits
Modern day medicines save lots of lives every year. But there are chances that a medicine may not work for you even if it works for others. It might even cause a severe side effect for you but not for another person. Has that ever happened to you? Actually, your response to medication is influenced by your age, health and lifestyle. Even your genes have an effect. The study of how an individual’s unique genetic makeup influences his/her response to medicines is called pharmacogenomics.
Did you ever think that your treatment can be tailor-made for you according to your genes? Well, it is good if you have as it is going to get true in the near future! Yes, customized medical treatment is round the corner.
Personalized medicine is a field of healthcare that takes into account an individual’s clinical, genomic, genetic and environmental information. The factors are different for each individual, therefore, the onset of the disease, its course and the response to drugs varies from individual to individual.
Personalized medicine is also called individualized or precision medicine. It aims at customizing health care, with treatments tailored for every patient. Pharmacogenomics is a part of personalized medicine.
Genomic testing is a new entry in the medical world but the field is expanding. At present, more than 100 drugs are labeled with pharmacogenomic biomarkers which are a measurable or identifiable part of genetic information that can be used to direct the use of the drug.
The aim of genomic and personalized medicine is to tackle complex diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For years, it was believed that these diseases were primarily influenced by environmental factors and interaction with the human genome( for your information genome is the complete set of genes in the body). Now it has been understood that these diseases in some cases are due to errors in DNA between the genes and not within genes. They can be better understood by the whole-genome approach.
Advantages of personalized medicine for the patients as well as doctors:
1) Ability to make the right medical decisions
2) More chances of the desired outcome due to a well targeted therapy
3) Reduced chances of adverse side effects.
4) Focus on prediction and prevention of disease instead of reaction to it.
5) Early disease intervention.
6) Reduced costs of healthcare.
Personalized medicine is meant only for the sick?
Absolutely not! As a person’s genome influences his/her chances of developing or not developing a broad range of illnesses, the focus of personalized medicine is wellness and prevention of disease.
For instance, if a person’s genomic data says that he/she has a more than average risk of developing diabetes or a certain kind of cancer, that individual may choose a healthy lifestyle or be prescribed medicines to take control of the situation. In the long run, the person may be benefited by making preventive lifestyle choices as it will help in counteracting the chances of developing the disease.
The medical conditions whose risk is determined by genomic medicine include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Neuropsychiatric disorders
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