One of the most interesting developments in the healthcare sector in recent years has been the rise of precision medicine, and as a health coach in London, this is something I’m especially intrigued by.
The term “precision medicine” means taking an approach to preventing and treating diseases by taking into account an individual’s unique genes, lifestyle and environment.
It is an approach that can allow better prediction of which strategies and treatments are most likely to work for each person when compared with the standard “on-size-fits-all” approach to medicine which involves the use of disease prevention and treatment strategies.
These are based on an average person instead of taking into consideration the differences that exist between individuals.
Which Benefits Does Precision Medicine Offer?
Personalised medicine holds a lot of promise for improvement in a number of different healthcare aspects. These include:
- Doctors being able to use molecular information and genetic data as part of a patient’s routine care.
- A better ability to predict the treatments that are likely to be most effective for each patient.
- A better understanding of the mechanisms that cause certain diseases to occur.
- An improved approach to diagnosing, treating and preventing a extensive array of diseases.
How Will Doctors Use Personalised Medicine?
Medical professionals are able to use the power of precision medicine for many purposes including:
- To find out more about your risk of developing certain diseases by testing your genes.
- To help prevent you from developing diseases that you are genetically predisposed to by offering you treatment in advance or encouraging you to change your lifestyle.
- To find out whether you have developed a disease that you are at risk of developing by testing you for it at an earlier stage and, thus offering you treatment before it gets worse.
- To find drugs and medications that are most likely to be effective for you and cause you fewer side effects.
- To determine how much of a specific drug you should be given.
- To monitor how well you respond to the personalised treatment that you’ve been given.
Is Precision Medicine Available Now?
Some personalised treatments are already being used by medical professionals. For example, women who have inherited genes that make them develop breast cancer with tumours that contain HER2 protein are given a specialised drug called Herceptin.
Researchers are continually working on the collection of data about lifestyle factors and genes, and how they work together to impact on our health and wellbeing.
So it’s very likely that in the near future, medical professionals will be far more able to determine whether or not we’re likely to develop certain conditions and which treatments we should be given to resolve them.
However, until precision medicine and personalised treatments become more widespread, the best solution is to live a healthy lifestyle so that you can enjoy the best quality of life and the best overall wellbeing.