In the wake of sequencing the entire human genome for the first time twelve years ago, the healthcare domain took a huge leap in understanding and changing our perspective towards diagnosing and treating diseases.
Marking a renewed and improved journey since then, the field of genomics has come a long way. It won’t be long enough until you can have your own genome sequenced. This will not only help your doctor to assess your risk for diseases, but also give you an opportunity to try and fix things to prevent or combat the development of diseases.
Having all this genetic information at hand will aid in personalizing medicine, helping doctors to better diagnose, treat or even prevent a disease based on a combination of information—patient’s DNA data, dietary habits, exercise and lifestyle factors. The Precision Medicine Initiative, undertaken by the National Institutes of Health was also backed by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
How Precision Medicine Changes The Picture
By having your genome sequenced, you will have all the information you need at your disposal. This opens new avenues for individualized treatment and patients would not have to settle with the old trial and error or the one-size-fits-all approach.
Addressing an enthusiastic audience at the 4th Annual Individualizing Medicine Conference at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Dr Keith Stewart, director of the Center for Individualized Medicine in Florida says, “This is the year of precision medicine. Now our job is to help deliver individualized medicine to the bedside of all our patients.”
Customizing medical treatments for every incoming patient based on their entire genetic profile can improve the outcomes along with helping to identify birth defects and perhaps even prevent them. Here we highlight the most accountable things precision medicine can help us achieve:
1. Risk Of A Disease: All diseases are a manifestation of genetic mutation in the body which can be either somatic or germline. While a germline mutation such as the BRCA1 which is associated with breast cancer, can be passed down through generations, the somatic one’s do not. Precision medicine allows your doctor to have all the required information at hand which can be processed to identify a particular mutation and in turn assess the risk.
2. Diagnose Specific Or Rare Diseases: Arriving on a particular diagnosis is not a mole hill task for a doctor, especially since there are zillions of diseases to weed from. Besides, symptoms cross over a range of illnesses which makes the task even more difficult. Genetic information can permit the doctors to compare unusual mutations across patient profiles while also measure their disease susceptibilities.
3. Avoid Adverse Drug Reactions & Side-Effects: If you’re allergic to a specific drug then that is due to an inherent mutation you are carrying in your DNA sequence. Every human reacts to and metabolizes drugs differently, which is why individualized treatment will only be a boon. By examining a patient’s DNA information, healthcare professionals will be able to associate their reaction to specific drugs and avoid them if found to produce any complications.