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Personalized medicine

Currently, much of medical practice is based on "standards of care" that are determined by averaging responses across large cohorts.

The theory has been that everyone should get the same care based on clinical trials.

Personalized Medicine is the concept that managing a patient's health should be based on the individual patient's specific characteristics, including age, gender, height/weight, diet, environment, etc.

Potential applications of personalized medicine Personalized medicine aims to identify individuals at risk for common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

The simple family history has long been used by physicians to identify individuals at increased risk and to advise preventive measures such as lifestyle modifications (changes in diet, cessation of toxic habits, increased exercise) earlier screening, or even prophylactic medications or surgery.

Scientific advancements offer the potential to define an individual's risk based on their genetic make-up.

Fields of Translational Research termed "-omics" (genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) study the contribution of genes, proteins, and metabolic pathways to human physiology and variations of these pathways that can lead to disease susceptibility.

It is hoped that these fields will enable new approaches to diagnosis, drug development, and individualized therapy.

Pharmacogenetics Pharmacogenetics (also termed pharmacogenomics) is the field of study that examines the impact of genetic variation on the response to medications.

This approach is aimed at tailoring drug therapy at a dosage that is most appropriate for an individual patient, with the potential benefits of increasing the efficacy and safety of medications.

Gene-centered research may also speed the development of novel therapeutics.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Personalized medicine", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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Health & Medicine News
September 3, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET