At present, a patient’s treatment for a disorder is not specifically matched to them, and is the same for everyone else with that condition.

However, we all differ hugely genetically and metabolically, which plays a key role in disease and response to treatments. The key to future care is therefore likely to be specialised personal treatments, chosen according to the patient’s genetic makeup.

Personalised medicine involves the use of an individual’s genomic information to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.

Tailored and swift

The traditional route of developing drugs for entire populations may be made redundant by advances in the understanding and application of complex genome sequencing.

For those with life-threatening and serious disorders such as cancer, chemotherapy treatments can be targeted for a specific type of tumour. However, treatment is still often a time-consuming, trial-and-error exercise.

The personalised medicine approach looks at the disease risks that are unique to each patient.

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Predispositions in genetics, lifestyle, and environment can be taken into consideration, which leads to a quicker, safer, and more effective treatment course.

Getting personal

A shift to a more personalised approach has been in the pipeline for decades. With the completion of the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, research into modified treatments for individuals really took off.

Subsequently, technology has developed and prices have decreased. Thousands of people have now had their genome sequenced, creating a pool of knowledge that is central to the concept of personalised medicine.

As more people are screened and their genetics and predisposition to disorders and diseases are understood, the future for healthcare prevention and treatment continues to improve.

The future is one of a kind

In the dynamic and ever-changing field of genomic medicine, increased knowledge among patients will be vital for its proliferation.

As patient knowledge grows and demand for personalised treatments increases, the industry will have to deliver.

The big pharmaceutical companies will need to adapt and make the commitment to further research and development (R&D). Those that do will be at the forefront of a movement that will improve patient outcomes to an unprecedented degree.