The Future of Personalized Medicine

The Future of Personalized Medicine By: Jennefer Paddock SCI 115 Date: November 11, 2011 Professor: Tamara Allen The Future of Personalized Medicine According to Cliff Mintz, personalized medicine is defined as “a young but rapidly advancing field of healthcare that is informed by each person’s unique clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental information (Life Science Leader 2010). Personalized medicine is not the traditional medicine; however, personalized medicine is about combining genetic information with clinical data to optimally tailor drugs and doses to meet the patients’ needs.

To some people, personalized medicine is technology of the future; however, others feel that personalized medicine is already influencing patients. As time progresses, modern genetic technology will lead to personalized medicine. There are many benefits of personalized medicine as well as, drawbacks and limitations to personalized medicine. Modern Genetic Technology Leading to Personalized Medicine Modern technology is on its way to leading to personalized medicine.

As a technology of the future, personalized medicine is the latest innovation for transformation of medicine, and technological advancements have enabled personalized medicine through the use of genetic testing. Introducing new treatment protocols, personalized medicine creates the ability to use molecular tracking elements that signal the risk of disease on a genetic level. According to Tony White in his speech given at the Weiss lecture, his company completed the human genome, and the biosystems provided them with the tools needed.

During his speech, Mr. White stated “the broad map is just the beginning of the journey” (White 2002). We are already seeing the use of personalized medicine being used in cancer patients and even HIV patients. During his speech, Mr. White talks about the gene that produces a tumor suppressor protein called the p53 gene. For example, if the gene is too high then they can detect certain diseases , and if the gene is too low, then it can detect diseases as well. Another example of how modern echnology is leading to personalized medicine is the breast cancer treatment which is determined by the oncogene involved in the development of cancer, HER2. With patients with breast cancer, the HER2 oncogene is overexpressed, and physicians are able to treat the overexpressed gene through the use of a monoclonal antibody that inhibits the gene, Herceptin. Benefits of Personalized Medicine There are many benefits of personalized medicine not only to the patients and physicians, but to the drug companies as well.

First of all, with matching therapeutics to specific DNA profiles, patients can be given the right medication because disease can be treated more successfully. Safer drugs doses can be prescribed; thus reducing negative side affects. Another benefit to personalized medicine is that there might be paths provided when looking for cures for cancer by being able to show why certain patients contract cancer and while others do not. In addition, you would be able to show why some patients survive cancer and why others do not survive cancer.

In addition to disease control, physicians would be able to give patients more effective diagnoses; thus, resulting in better disease interventions. Personalized medicine will eliminate the need for using animals in the laboratory because human DNA will be used. Lastly, personalized medicine would greatly reduce healthcare costs as well as medical expenditures. According to drug makers, personalized medicine will expedite the time requirements associated with product developments.

Not only expediting time requirements, personalized medicine will reduce healthcare costs to the patients because they will have a better cure for diseases; thus, reducing the amount office visits. Drawbacks of Personalized Medicine In addition to benefits of personalized medicine, there are also drawbacks of personalized medicine. According the article Genetics & Genomics, the number one drawback for patients is the privacy implications. In a survey regarding the strongest drawbacks of personalized medicine, “misuse of information/invasion of privacy” was the highest (Genectics 2005).

In addition, insurance companies may be able to deny coverage to patients based on their genetic information. Another drawback is that patients are under educated regarding personalized medicine, the genetic profile would possibly have a negative impact on the patients well being; thus, leading to stress and anxiety. Another challenge to personalized medicine is that molecular biomarkers have not been verified; therefore, the biomarkers are not able to be used in personalized medicine products.

In addition, the FDA has not yet defined a regulatory approval because the regulators lack the knowledge needed to evaluate the tests required for personalized medication. Another drawback is that that healthcare provides may not have the ability to store and manage the large amounts of medical information. Lastly, if a healthcare provider had the ability to store large amounts of medical information, then this raises the issues of confidentially, access, and privacy concerns.

In conclusion, finding cures and treatments for diseases is time consuming; in the end, healthier lives can be fulfilled through the use of personalized medicine. There are many drawbacks to personalized medicine; however, the benefits of personalized medicine outweigh the drawbacks. Technology is ever changing, and modern technology is leading to personalized medicine. In fact, we are seeing the use of personalized medicine through cancer patients and what the p53 gene depicts. Personalized medicine will have a major impact on establishing an individual’s genetic predisposition to certain diseases.

Personalized medicine focuses on preventative medicine and interventions, and tools that decode human genomes will help link genetic variations to diseases. References “Genetics & Genomics; Survey Shows Americans Want Genetic Information but Fear Privacy Implications. ” Genomics & Genetics Weekly. 02 Dec 2005:169. Mintz, Cliff. “Life Science Leader: The Potential of Personalized Medicine. ” Feb. 2010 White, Tony. “Smart Medicine is Coming: Making Intelligent Choices. ” Vital Speeches of the Day. 15 Mar. 2002:326.


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