What Is Precision Medicine?

In 2003, the medical world recognized the significant possibilities that would become available by the sequencing of the complete set of genetic information for humans, the human genome.

 

Francis Collins, the director of NHGRI (National Human Genome Research Institute), noted that the genome could be thought of in terms of a book with multiple uses: “It’s a history book – a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It’s a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell.

 

And it’s a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease.

Pharmacogenetics: The Key to Precision Medicine

Pharmacogenetics, an important component of precision medicine, is the application of how genes affect a person’s ability to metabolize drugs. In layman’s terms, precision medicine is a tool that helps your healthcare provider customize a medication treatment plan designed to provide individuals with the best possible outcomes while minimizing potential adverse drug reactions (ADRs).

 

Providers and pharmacists have long understood that not every drug performs the same way for every patient. A medication that works well for one person can have harmful side effects for someone else. For example, some people may not break-down (metabolize) certain medications as expected. As a result, a dosage level that would be safe for most individuals would be toxic for these patients. Other individuals might process medications too quickly for the drugs to have their intended effect.

Reduced Trial and Error

Precision medicine can help replace the trial and error process that exists today where providers prescribe drugs and dosage levels based on general population data, the one size fits all approach.

 

Today, the MD Labs’ scientific team uses open array technology to identify 60 alleles present on 18 genes that determine if patients can metabolize the more than 200 medications checked. When shared with your healthcare providers, your individualized DNA drug sensitivity test report will help them to create a more personalized medication therapy program.

 

For more information, visit the White House precision medicine web page:

 

THE PRECISION MEDICINE INITIATIVE