As John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, writes in “The Evolution of Personalized Medicine” in Cardiology Magazine, “In a sense, personalized medicine is not entirely new. The identification of the ABO blood group system, in 1901 by Karl Landsteiner at the University of Vienna, may be one of the first instances of recognizing differences in each patient’s biology.”
However, as Harold notes, precision medicine and personalized care have leapt forward since the sequencing of the human genome was first completed in 2003, accelerating exponentially as rapid sequencing tests have expanded the availability and economic viability of genomic sequencing for clinical care decisions.
“This march toward personalized, or precision, medicine for many disorders is being hastened by advances in diagnostic tools,” writes Elizabeth O’Day and Habiba Alsafar in “Advanced Diagnostics for Personalized Medicine” in Scientific American. “These technologies can help physicians detect and quantify multiple biomarkers (molecules that signal the presence of a disorder) to divide patients into subgroups that differ in their susceptibility to a disease, prognosis or likelihood of responding to a specific treatment.”
Pharmacogenomics informs your professional judgment and removes much of the guesswork from many pharmaceutical decisions. It allows you to prescribe your patients the right medicine at the right dose, the first time, sparing them many unpleasant side effects and delays in therapeutic benefits.
“Genetic makeup-based prescription, design, and implementation of therapy not only improves the outcome of treatments but also reduces the risk of toxicity and other adverse effects,” writes Dev Bukhsh Singh, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biosciences and Biotechnology at Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University in “The Impact of Pharmacogenomics in Personalized Medicine,” a chapter contributed to Current Applications of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.
“A better understanding of individual variations and their effect on drug response, metabolism excretion, and toxicity,” Singh continues, “will replace the trial-and-error approach of treatment.”
The FDA has recognized this important link between pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine in its growing emphasis on “companion diagnostics,” which are tests developed in parallel with new drugs that target specific genetic mutations, or that are only safe and effective for certain genotypes. The agency’s oncology division now requires companion diagnostics “if a new drug works on a specific genetic or biological target that is present in some, but not all, patients with a certain cancer or disease.” The tests identify those patients who can benefit from the companion drug and those who “could be harmed by use of a certain drug for the treatment of their disease.”
The long inspiring vision of personalized healthcare is now becoming a reality thanks to diagnostic advances that empower you to treat your patients with greater precision. It’s why LifeBrite Labs has invested so heavily in molecular pathology, including pharmacogenomics, inherited cancer screening, carrier testing, and microbiome analysis.
And this is only the beginning. “Researchers have discovered hundreds of genes that harbor variations contributing to human illness, identified genetic variability in patients’ responses to dozens of treatments, and begun to target the molecular causes of some diseases,” write Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., and Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. in “The Path to Personalised Medicine” in the New England Journal of Medicine. “In addition, scientists are developing and using diagnostic tests based on genetics or other molecular mechanisms to better predict patients’ responses to targeted therapy.”
As the science of pharmacogenomics and molecular pathology continues to advance, LifeBrite Laboratories will continue to invest in the diagnostic tools that will empower you to give your patients the very best in individualized care.