When people think of medical treatments, the results of a medication or treatment are often one-size-fits-all, fitting a good amount of patients. However, precision medicine is as the name says, more precise. There is an aspect of personalization that general medical treatment does not include. Precision medicine involves a new approach to disease treatment and prevention considering the differences between individuals like genes, environment, and lifestyle. Cell sorting, epigenetics, proteomics, metabolomics, and other fields are mixing with informatics and other technology to rapidly increase the field of precision medicine.
One example is recombinant biologic agents, which combine recombinant technology and biologics like vaccines, somatic cells, tissues, etc. They can better treat hemophilia and electronic health records have been able to provide a database of information for precision medicine. Gene therapy, genetics, and DNA sequencing methods have advanced in efficiency and costs, making it much easier to test for abnormalities in genetics and provide treatments for cancers. For treating lung cancer specifically, molecular testing for genetic markers like EFGR, MET, RAS, ALK, and other genetic markers can help with determining what patients need treatment and defend patients from unnecessary treatments depending on what genetic marker they have. Precision advancements in molecular testing are also utilized to check patients for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2; this advancement has allowed for early prophylactic treatment and attention. The advances in improving molecular testing and genetic testing have been able to specifically treat individual patients.
There are challenges like the interests of the patient, physician, and industry often not matching. Patients and physicians will often be more worried about figuring out and treating diseases but physicians also have to like worry about the healthcare costs and how there might be an increase in costs for a particular personalized medicine. Industry interests may not consider any of physicians' or patients' interests but instead, focus on what treatments are the most profitable. Having a misalignment of interests can make it hard to provide precision medicine even if innovations are occurring. Another challenge is gathering the information and organizing it in a way for future healthcare professionals to access. Some diseases of patients will be caused by various mutations in many genes whereas another patient may have a single gene mutation causing various diseases. Noting all the various ways a gene mutation could cause a condition is needed to continue personalizing precision medicine for future patients.
Future advances in precision medicine will continue to look at genetic pathways in cancer with medications, cancer immunotherapies, DNA sequencing, and the utilization of technology in severe cases. If the challenges are slowly overcome with more of a focus on allowing patients to have personalized medicine, the advances will be continuous.
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