Skyrocketing Treatment Accuracy with Precision Medicine

An extremely promising development in the field of medical sciences is that of precision medicine. Accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment are a few trails and experiments away.  

FREMONT, CA: The advancements in genetic research have given the medical industry a new approach for the treatment of diseases with precision medicine. The theory behind precision medicine is that one-size-fits-all is not always the best way when treating individuals. The genetic makeup varies significantly for every other person, and thus, how one individual responds to a particular drug might be different from how another reacts. Precision medicine takes into account the variability in genes as well as other external factors while fixing the treatment methodology. This approach is bound to give higher accuracies and better results. Although it is an emerging field, researchers and doctors have expressed a lot of enthusiasm regarding the potential of precision medicine, which is also known as genomic or personalized medicine.

The face of clinical research and development is changing. Precision medicine is enabling the replacement of broader classifications of common diseases with a more precisely defined spectrum of specific conditions. With a deepened understanding of the human genome, designing focused treatment becomes easier. A genetic test can determine subtle differences which allow doctors to administer patients to medication that has a higher probability of effecting a response towards recovery.

For example, when a cancer patient seeks medical help, the oncologist can prescribe generic medicines and go for conventional treatment. However, by conducting a genetic test, the doctor might gain access to critical information like whether the genetic makeup has mutations or not. Having or not having mutations can make a lot of difference in how a particular cancer cell responds to the medication.

Apart from considering the genetic aspect, precision medicine also considers external factors that can affect how a disease progresses and regresses. Lifestyle and environment can be big determinants. These factors can also play a role in activating certain genes and creating higher chances of specific diseases which have been a hereditary trait. By proactively determining an individual's health vulnerability, medical attention through precision medicine can minimize or prevent the occurrence of diseases. Personalized medication gives a lot of control and a significant amount of lead in cases of proactive prevention. The best example, in this case, is that of cancer. A genetic test can reveal if an individual has more chances of developing a certain kind of cancer and thus enable physicians to suggest ways to overcome risks.

Experts expect precision medicine to play a very impactful role in cancer treatment. Right now, cancer treatment is based on cancer screenings that reveal tumors and biopsies that relay whether or not the tumors are malignant. The level of cancer, or the stage, is also a major determinant of the treatment methodologies an oncologist might follow. Post diagnosis, a combination of chemotherapy, radiations, and surgeries are used. However, there are certain constraints on these approaches. There have been innumerable instances where a patient does not react in the expected ways, leading to the ineffectiveness of therapies. These inconsistencies are a result of the variations in DNA in different individuals. Genetic changes in cancer cells are responsible for how cancer grows and spreads.

Precision medicine has the answers to these challenges. Extensive testing and experimentations are on to optimize the scope of precision medicine in cancer treatment. Currently, researchers are focusing on developing targeted drugs and delivery mechanisms that will help cancer patients. Regulatory organizations have already approved some targeted therapies. In breast cancer treatment, personalization is carried out based on whether a patient has HER2-positive breast cancer or estrogen-and progesterone-positive breast cancer. For HER2-positive breast cancer, Herceptin has been developed, and it lowers chances of recurrence. Hormone therapy, based on the presence or absence of receptors, is also being used for breast cancer patients.

Understanding the genetic component of diseases and patients and combining them to arrive at best ways of treatment can lead to much better outcomes and survival rates.