Better diagnoses, earlier interventions, more-efficient drug therapies, customized treatment plans. These are the promises of personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine or individualized medicine.
Individualized, precision or personalized medicine provides a genomic blueprint to determine each person's unique disease susceptibility, define preventive measures and enable targeted therapies to promote wellness.
Every person has a unique variation of the human genome. Although most of the variation between individuals has no effect on health, an individual's health stems from genetic variation with behaviors and influences from the environment.
Modern advances in personalized medicine rely on technology that confirms a patient's fundamental biology, DNA, RNA, or protein, which ultimately leads to confirming disease. For example, personalised techniques such as genome sequencing can reveal mutations in DNA that influence diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to cancer. Another method, called RNA-seq, can show which RNA molecules are involved with specific diseases. Unlike DNA, levels of RNA can change in response to the environment. Therefore, sequencing RNA can provide a broader understanding of a person’s state of health. Recent studies have linked genetic differences between individuals to RNA expression, translation, and protein levels.
The concepts of personalised medicine can be applied to new and transformative approaches to health care. Personalised health care is based on the dynamics of systems biology and uses predictive tools to evaluate health risks and to design personalised health plans to help patients mitigate risks, prevent disease and to treat it with precision when it occurs.