Medicine Made for You: What Is Personalized Healthcare All About?

November 16, 2013
95 Views

DNA genome personalized healthcareAccording to Science Daily, modern technologies can sequence a human genome in about one week for just $5,000. This has led scientists, researchers and doctors to anticipate that in the very near future, practically everyone will be able to afford rapid genome sequencing.

DNA genome personalized healthcareAccording to Science Daily, modern technologies can sequence a human genome in about one week for just $5,000. This has led scientists, researchers and doctors to anticipate that in the very near future, practically everyone will be able to afford rapid genome sequencing.

What would having a DNA map of virtually every individual do? Hopefully, a lot of good. The ability to decode a human genome has profound implications when it comes to medical treatment. As a result, the world of personalized medicine is quickly expanding.

Isn’t All Medicine Personal?

While it is true that most healthcare should already be unique to each patient, personalized medicine aims to make medical treatment look different for every individual—even when fighting the same diseases.

The term personalized medicine is used to refer to any form of healthcare that makes full use of new technologies at work in hospitals today. But more importantly, the name anticipates emerging genome sequencing capabilities which promise more specialized care for each individual. Analyzing a person’s genome which is unique to only them could help medical professionals to:

•Determine a person’s predisposition to certain diseases making preventative care better

•Anticipate and avoid side affects of treatments and drugs

•Tailor prescriptions and medicine for the individual

•Reduce failure rate of trial and error treatment

“Personalized medicine,” explains the Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine at pcpgm.partners.org, “is the ability to determine an individual’s unique molecular characteristics and to use those genetic distinctions to diagnose more finely an individual’s disease, select treatments that increase the chances of a successful outcome and reduce possible adverse reactions.” It also offers “the ability to predict an individual’s susceptibility to diseases and thus to try to shape steps that may help avoid or reduce the extent to which an individual will experience a disease.”

What Does the FDA Have to Say?

These exciting possibilities have the government declaring that the future has arrived. Margaret A.Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently explained that “the future of medicine is rapidly approaching the promising level of care and cure once imagined by Hollywood in futuristic dramas like Star Trek.”

She went on to state that with “cooperative efforts” from “the full force of government, private industry, academia and other concerned stakeholders [which could mean anyone who has DNA, i.e. everyone] to maximize our efforts and fully realize the promise of personalized medicine.” Hamburg continued to say that a new FDA report on personalized medicine “helps chart the way forward so that more people can live long and prosper,” yet another Trekkie reference. Perhaps we have a Vulcan running the FDA.

Medical Providers Are Already Responding

The excitement over genome influenced healthcare has led many medical providers to start offering personalized plans even now. Comprehensive primary care from MDVIP is just one example of wellness providers hoping to combine specialists and new treatments for highly individualized care for its members. Until genome sequencing arrives in every hospital, personalized medicine is being defined more loosely as care which takes advantage of the latest and greatest technologies and uses computers and electronic records in hospitals.

With these new advances on their way, we might all be able to read our DNA sequences in just a few more decades.

(DNA / shutterstock)

 

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