17. 02. 01
posted by: Precision Medicine
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Without a doubt, the advances in the medical community are some of the most exciting and promising for the future of all of us.  One of the areas that is making huge inroads and gaining both recognition and notoriety is precision medicine.  This is due to the progress in understanding the human genome and understanding how answers to health questions can be found within.  Precision medicine is quite new to the healthcare game, and is not even begun to hit its fullest potential because genes have not been fully mapped or figured out.  However, successes in precision medicine examples are beginning to be seen more widely.


Drugs and Dosages

According to the University of Utah researchers and physicians, there are many benefits that have already been experienced, as well as clinical trials that show great promise.  One of the biggest concerns that many doctors have had is the affect a drug might or might not have on a patient.  It is well documented that not every patient is effected by a drug the same, so by being able to read a patient’s genetic differences, a doctor would be able to know if a medicine is going to have a positive or adverse effect on a specific patient, and know what dosage would be best, also taking into consideration other medications, and physique when prescribing.


Cancer Help

A place where precision medicine could really make inroads would be with cancer.  Imagine a future where a cancer diagnosis wasn’t as devastating or scary; one where a patient’s DNA held the answers as to whether to use drugs to help boost the individual’s immune system, or to combat the growth directly.  Some of this is already happening today, although on specific types of cancers, and specific patients that meet prerequisite standards.  As more information is gathered, more is understood about our DNA and more tests are done, the field for cancer treatment will grow and have further successes. 


Replacing Tissue

There have been reports in the news talking about the progress in being able to regrow tissue in a lab, and some of that going to benefit a few select people.  The hope is to be able to replace anything that is ailing, failing or lost, using a person’s own stem cells, so as to avoid rejection or any other problem from arising.  This would allow damaged heart tissue to be replaced, cartilage or nerves to regenerate in a back injury or even to replace a limb lost to accident.  Most of this isn’t possible yet, but scientists are working to find ways to make this possible and to do it as quickly as possible.


Analyzing Microbes

Doctors and specialists aren’t just working to understand human DNA or that of other mammals, but are also working to identify characteristics of microscopic life that live on, in and around us.  Some of these microbes are beneficial and even essential to making sure that we are healthy and functioning well.  Others cause diseases, illnesses or abnormalities.  If a physician was able to classify what organism was present in a patient and what traits are present with it, he or she would then be able to more accurately treat a patient according to their exact needs and to avoid adverse effects or long-term unnecessary treatments.  This precision medicine example is an approach that is quite different from the others previous stated, but has as great a potential to help patients and do so very efficiently and effectively that it shouldn’t be overlooked or understated.


Personal Health

All of us know that we are unique in many ways and similar in others.  This is quite easily seen and stated when it comes to topics of obesity, and overall health issues.  For example, there are people that are extremely overweight, yet have no problems with cholesterol, blood pressure or diabetes.  However, there are individuals that run marathons but have issue with hypertension.  If doctors were able to create a medicine that was able to target exactly what was wrong within an individual person, such as the body’s ability to produce insulin, or to lose weight, many people would benefit greatly both in the short- and long-term with their health.  These so-called magic pills are controversial in the fact that many people would use them and continue with poor health habits and behaviors, but the concept of being able to live better is quite ideal to most everyone.  It may surprise some that a magic pill isn’t so much a reality as something more along the lines of a personalized diet that focuses on foods that would be most beneficial, while knowing exactly what to avoid.


Examples of precision medicines and medical care are somewhat on the cutting edge of being reality, but scientists have to start somewhere and shoot for the stars.  As more information is gathered and understood about the human body and DNA mapping, the possibilities listed above will only be the tip of the iceberg of promises.  More than anything, precision medicine is the look at ways to improve healthcare and the hope for being able to help everyone to live longer, have a better quality of life and to have infinite potential to do what they would like.