Gender, race, age, lifestyle, environment, genes, and many other factors affect how a patient’s condition may or may not manifest itself and the right course of treatment. Personalized medicine is tailored to each patient based on their risk of developing disease or their predicted response to disease.
The results of this preventive testing help determine the treatment, interventions, products, and practices that suit the individual best. Imagine medical care that is designed for you and you alone, no matter how common your affliction – or your potential to develop a certain affliction.
One of the most high-profile examples of personalized medicine is the case of Angelina Jolie. The actress and activist tested positive for BRCA1, the same genetic marker that her mother, who died from breast cancer, carried. Jolie made the difficult decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, thereby dropping her chances of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to under 5 percent. Carrying this gene also increases a person’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.
While our genes are not an indication that certain diseases will befall us in the future, genes are a road map to potential medical situations, just like they’re the answer behind your blue eyes or curly hair. The information that genes provide can help those who undergo tests for genetic markers to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Even though many people suffer with similar health conditions, diseases are indeed individual. Treatment should be too. Practitioners of personalized medicine serve their patients by identifying genomic and genetic information that predicts whether a person is susceptible to developing disease, and – most importantly – the course of the disease, treatment options, and potential response to treatment.
Personalized medicine can be likened to a puzzle. Doctors may scan a single gene, several genes, or complete genomes – the important part is to take the test results and study them to determine what they indicate and what options are possible moving forward to help stunt or prevent disease from developing.
Personalized medicine is strongly focused on wellness and disease prevention. Testing can determine a person’s risk of developing medical conditions such as:
Genomic testing also helps determine the best course of treatment for an already-developed disease, like cancer or HIV/AIDS. Knowledge of genetic mutations makes it possible for patients to have therapy that is far more targeted, accurate, and, therefore, effective.
Wouldn’t you love to know if and when you’re going to get a cold so you could make sure you have a babysitter, change your work presentation to a different day, or plan the cold for a slow weekend when you have time to recuperate? Now think about how life would change if you knew you were going to develop a certain type of cancer or degenerative disease. If you knew ahead of time what you were susceptible to, wouldn’t you alter your lifestyle and undergo the types of medical interventions to prevent any major health conditions from happening to you?
Personalized medicine offers patients incredible advantages such as:
Diagnosis of a disease and the treatment applied to the disease do not always indicate success. Knowing a person’s potential reaction to a treatment can help a clinician determine if that medical intervention is the right one, or if it might do more harm than good. Adverse reactions to drugs could occur – but genomic information could have provided this information ahead of time. Trying out different treatments to find the “best” one is a waste of time, and it’s a horrible opportunity for disease to become more advanced.
Personalized medicine allows doctors the privilege of treating their patients most effectively the first time. There is little trial and error. And such customized healthcare gives people greater opportunities to apply truly targeted drug therapies, treatments, or lifestyle changes to prevent conditions, slow them down, divert them, or stop them in their tracks.
What works for one patient may not work for another. What one patient’s melanoma tumor contains is not what another patient’s contains. Preventing disease, and tailoring treatment to disease once it exists, are both part of personalized medicine.
Minimize biological risks, or transform the course of your traditional medical treatment with personalized medicine. At the Longevity Health Institute in Rochester Hills, MI, Dr. James Lewerenz knows that you are who you are – an individual – and he and his personalized medicine team are ready to find out who you are and what your medical needs entail. Contact us to schedule your appointment.