Let me start off with a definition of what precision medicine is:
‘According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” This approach will allow doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people. It is in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the average person, with less consideration for the differences between individuals.’
The ‘Precision Medicine Initiative’ talked about in the above definition was launched by Barack Obama, former president of the United States of America, in 2015. Through the initiative, it is hoped to provide doctors with new and efficient treatment options based on the specific individual. As a matter of fact, the Precision Medicine Initiative is already undergoing clinical trials to treat patients with melanoma (mutation in the BRAF gene). In addition, cancer treatment is also being increasingly tested for by precision medicine in oder to provide personalized treatment.
As said by Drs. Kurzrock and Kato said:
“It was especially important to institute this approach in rare tumors, since there are often so few traditional therapies available to these patients. We were, therefore, filling an unmet need for new treatments for these patients by applying our internal expertise in genomics, immunotherapy, and personalized medicine.”
It is hoped that in the future, personalized medicine will be more readily available to all patients. However, until that happens the Government will need to decide ‘who pays’ as precision medicine is definitely not going to be cheap. It is pretty clear that if precision medicine can come into everyday use, it it will revolutionize the way doctors treat and diagnose illness.
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