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Personalized medicine is a medical model emphasizing the systematic use of information about an individual patient to select or optimize that patient's preventative and therapeutic care. Personalized medicine is the products and services that leverage the science of genomics and proteomics and capitalize on the trends toward wellness and consumerism to enable tailored approaches to prevention and care.
Over the past century, medical care has centered on standards of care based on epidemiological studies of large cohorts. Personalized medicine seeks to provide an objective basis for consideration of such individual differences. Traditionally, personalized medicine has been limited to the consideration of a patient's family history, social circumstances, environment, and behaviors in tailoring individual care.
Personalized medicine uses new methods of molecular analysis to manage a patient’s disease or predisposition toward a disease. It aims to achieve optimal medical outcomes by helping physicians and patients choose the disease management approaches likely to work best in the context of a patient’s genetic and environmental profile. Such approaches may include genetic screening programs that more precisely diagnose diseases and their sub-types, or help physicians select the type and dose of medication best suited to a certain group of patients.
Personalized medicine is an extension of traditional approaches to understanding and treating illness. Since the beginning of the study of medicine, physicians have employed evidence found through observation to make a diagnosis or to prescribe treatment.
In the modern concept of personalized medicine, the tools provided to the physician are more precise, probing not just the obvious, such as a tumor on a mammogram or cells under a microscope, but the very molecular makeup of each patient. Looking at the patient on this level helps the physician get a profile of the patient’s genetic distinction, or mapping. By investigating this genetic mapping, medical professionals are then able to profile patients, and use the found information to plan a course of treatment that is much more in step with the way their body works. Genomic medicine and personalized medicine use genetic information to prevent or treat disease in adults or their children.
Having a genetic map or a profile of a patient’s genetic variation can then guide the selection of drugs or treatment processes. This can minimize side effects or to create a strategy for a more successful outcome from the medical treatment. Helping the physician cover all the bases is imperative. Genetic mapping can also indicate the propensity to contract certain diseases before the patient actually shows recognizable symptoms, allowing the physician and patient to put together a plan for observation and prevention.
Personalized medicine, when coupled with personal pharmacogenetics, is a unique approach that may be well suited for the health challenges we face in the new millennium. Although the medical and scientific communities, through research and discovery, got the upper hand over many of the diseases we have encountered since the advent of advanced medicine, many diseases that are more complicated.
Diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s are caused by a combination of genetic and other factors. Coupled with the fact that they tend to be chronic, they place a significant burden on not only the patient, but on the healthcare system as a whole. Personalized medicine aims to provide the tools and knowledge to fight chronic diseases and treat them more effectively than ever before.
Genetic profiles can help physicians to better discern subgroups of patients with various forms of cancer, in addition to other complex diseases, helping to guide doctors with accurate forms of predictive medicine and preventative medicine. With personalized medicine, the physician is intending to select the best treatment protocol or even, in many cases, avoid passing the expense and risks of unnecessary medical treatments on to the patient altogether. In addition, personalized medicine, when used correctly, aims to guide tests that detect variation in the way individual patients metabolize various pharmaceuticals. Personalized medicine is working to help determine the right dose for a patient, helping to avoid hazards based on familial history, environmental influences, and genetic variation.