Personalized Medicine

There is no officially recognized definition of personalized medicine. The term “personalized medicine” was used as the title of a monograph in 1998 (Jain 1998a) and started to appear in MEDLINE in 1999, but most of the literature relevant to personalized medicine is still indexed under pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics. Various terms that are used to describe the concept of personalized medicine are listed in followong image. Personalized medicine, also referred to as individualized therapy, simply means the prescription of specific treatments and therapeutics best suited for an individual taking into consideration both genetic and environmental factors that influence response to therapy. 

Customized drug therapy
Genomix medicine or genotype-based therapy
Individualized or individual-based therapy
Information-based medicine
Integrated healthcare
Omics-based medicine:pharmacogenomics/pharmacogenetics/pharmacoproteomics
Predictive medicine
Rational drug selection
Systems medicine
Tailored therapy
Translational medicine

The term “genomic medicine” implies that the sequencing of the human genome has enabled the practice of medicine to enter an era in which the individual patient’s genome will help determine the optimal approach to care, whether it is preventive, diagnostic, or therapeutic. Genomic medicine is not an adequate synonym for personalized medicine as other factors are also taken into consideration. Besides genomics, proteomic technologies have facilitated the development of personalized medicines and other technologies such as metabolomics are also contributing to this effort. Personalized medicine is the best way to integrate new biotechnologies into medicine for improving the understanding of pathomechanism of diseases and management of patients.

This process of personalization starts at the development stage of a medicine and is on the basis of pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics. The concept of personalized medicine will enable pharmaceutical companies to develop more effective medicines with fewer side effects. Physicians will have access to genetic profiles of their patients that will allow them to use existing medicines more effectively and safely, and individuals will be able to better manage their health on the basis of an understanding of their genetic profile.

In contrast to trial and error approach of some conventional therapies, personalized medicines aim to achieve a better match of drugs to patients so that the right treatments are given to the right patients at the right time. Personalized medicine has become a reality with the sequencing of the human genome, advances in medical genetics, and several technologies including medical diagnostics, single nucleotide polymorphism
(SNP) genotyping, and proteomics.

Some consider the word “personalized” to be somewhat indicative of exclusivity and prefer to use the term integrated healthcare to indicate the integration of diagnostics, screening, prevention, therapy, and treatment monitoring as the future trend in medicine. The problem with the term “integrated healthcare” is that it is already being used to indicate the integration of classical medicine with alternative medicine. Integration of diagnosis and treatment is implied in the development of personalized medicine and the author of this report prefers to use the term “personalized medicine” for the system and to refer to the individual drugs as personalized medicines.


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Mark Dave Foster said...

Good blog! In addition, personalized medicine refers to determining the most effective course of treatment based on a patient's biochemical constitution, which, in turn, is determined by his/her gene profile. Why is this approach gaining popularity? Consider just one area in which it may be very effective: medication side effects. Click here for 'Internal Medicine'

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