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Why Do We Need Personalized Medicine and What Should Our Priorities Be?

By: , Posted on: December 18, 2015

personalized medicine
Source: Wikimedia

Personalized medicine is the leading practical outcome of the Human Genome Project. It concerns the individualization of pharmacotherapy according to the unique genomic and proteomic information which underlies the individuality of each patient and each case of therapeutical intervention. Personalized medicine, once incorporated into the clinical setting, would allow patients to be treated with the most fitting medicines, according to their genetic and protein profiles. Thus, it is projected to improve drug safety and efficacy, which presently are far from being satisfactory and are the main causes for the rising costs to society from adverse drug reactions (ADRs). It is too early to forecast when personalized medicine will be truly accomplished, but the process has begun and is likely to keep progressing rapidly, as more knowledge about human genome variation and its relation to drug metabolism and drug–target interactions is realized.

So why do we need personalized medicine? A short answer to this question is: because we must improve medical care, and in particular the safety of pharmacotherapy. In other words, we need to develop personalized medicine, so that the safety and efficacy of drugs, which are far from being satisfactory, may be improved; and the best way to improve drug safety and efficacy presently seems to be via the use of genomics and proteomics knowledge about the individual patient. That is, personalized medicine should not oppose the use of other types of data for improving healthcare. However, the availability of knowledge about human genome variation, and the relation of such variation to drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, has created a unique opportunity for utilizing such data for improving healthcare. New pharmacogenomics knowledge would allow the incorporation of personalized medicine to the clinic, most likely starting with reductions in the alarmingly high rates of ADRs, currently estimated to account for about 6.5% of new hospital admissions to internal medicine wards, and about 4% of total bed occupancy.5,6 and 7 A US study by Ernst and Grizzle8 has estimated that overall, the cost of drug-related morbidity and mortality exceeded $177 billion in 2000. Hospital admissions accounted for nearly 70% ($121 billion) of total costs, followed by long-term care admissions, which accounted for 18% ($33 billion). Such staggering figures clarify the urgent need to reduce ADRs rates. The money saved via reduced hospitalizations following ADRs could potentially be used to improve healthcare.

Read more about the benefits of personalized medicine and how we can achieve it in this blog post

reference modules chemistry ipadThis excerpt was taken from the article Personalized Medicine by D. Gurwitz and V.G. Manolopoulos which is included in the Reference Module in Chemistry, Molecular Sciences and Chemical Engineering. Hosted on ScienceDirect, this visionary resource contains thousands of comprehensive and encyclopedic articles into one interdisciplinary product. Every Month the content is reviewed, updated and new articles are commissioned where needed to ensure the latest developments and discoveries are included. Achieve more with this empowering resource, learn more here.

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