Personalized medicine, in which medical care and treatment is tailored to the individual patient, can lead to better diagnoses, earlier interventions, customized treatment, and drug therapies that are more efficient. In short, personalized medicine means making treatment as individualized as the disease.
Recently, experts from the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine shared five key ways in which this philosophy of care is moving from the research lab into the hands of health care providers, by transforming patient care with new tests and treatments.
- Genomic Testing: New tests are now available that pinpoint, through advanced genomic testing, which cancer therapies hold the most promise of success for individual patients. These tests (called mate-pair sequencing) can identify genetic changes that indicate specific types of cancerous tumors. This information, in turn, can guide treatment choice.
- Blood Testing: Earlier diagnosis of cancer and cancer recurrence increasingly comes in the form of blood tests. This form of testing looks for DNA fragments shed by cancerous tumors into the bloodstream. Finding cancer (and cancer recurrence) earlier can mean that the cancer is more treatable.
- DNA Testing: Even healthy people are opting to undergo DNA tests that can predict the risk of later disease. Pricing continues to drop for this type of testing in individuals who currently appear healthy. These tests, which only need to be done once, can be referred to in the medical record to guide future health care screening decisions.
- Unexplained DNA Disorders: Genetic tests can be used to better understand unexplained disorders, including for rare diseases.
- Drug-Gene Testing: DNA tests can also be used to guide decision-making of which precise medication is the most compatible for an individual’s genetic makeup.
Overall, medical advances and research continue to allow health care providers to treat patients in the most personalized way possible. Even more precise diagnosis and treatment is just about guaranteed in the future.
5 new ways health care providers can apply individualized medicine to patient care. Newswise Oct 9, 2017.