Precision Medicine and Pharmacogenomics

The value of "personalized medicine" as an innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment.
· 5 min read

Disease prevention and medical treatments have historically been designed based on the average patient’s expected response. This one-size-fits-all approach can work well for some patients with certain medical conditions, but it may not work well for all patients.

This points to the value of precision medicine, also known as "personalized medicine," an innovative approach to tailoring disease prevention and treatment by considering more than just a patient’s sex, age, and body size. Precision medicine also considers a patient’s genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle to target the right treatment for that specific patient at the right time.

Medications can affect different groups of people with specific genes in unique ways. Pharmacogenomics, a part of precision medicine, studies how genes can affect a patient’s response to medications. Pharmacogenomics (PGx) plays an important role in identifying responders and non-responders to medications, avoiding adverse drug reactions and optimizing drug dose.

Applications of Pharmacogenomics

  • Oncology treatment: because of the narrow therapeutic index of many chemotherapeutic drugs and the risk for life-threatening adverse effects.
  • Help pharmacists: guide supportive care choices for adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting, pain, and depression often seen in patients receiving chemotherapy.
  • Drive new drug development: allowing treatment of the underlying disease rather than treating only symptoms.

Although pharmacogenomics has great promise and has made important strides in recent years, it is still in its early stages. A growing number of randomized controlled trials are proving the benefit of gene specific therapy, hopefully convincing key stakeholders of the value of pharmacogenomic test results in the near future.

To read more about this ever-changing landscape, click here.

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