When it comes to medication, while certain drugs work better for some patients, others experience adverse effects. There are many factors that can lead to this variation in response, such as illness, differences in drugs, environment, and genetic factors. With the development of modern medical science, there is a new way of approaching medicine, which could make this problem a thing of the past: tailor-made medication.
As genes and their constituent DNA are believed to have a major impact on how certain medications work on a patient, the analysis of these factors has paved the way for effective diagnosis in tailor-made medication. This type of treatment is prescribed specifically for each individual patient based on their pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic information.
Tailor-made medication has the potential to turn a patient-focused, cost-effective treatment into a reality. It truly is the future of medicine.
Fill in the blanks of current treatment limitations
The difference in reaction of individual patients to the identical medicine has shown that genetic factors play an important role in the efficacy of a treatment in curing a disease. However, current medications being used in hospitals and clinics are based on a “one-for-all” metric, which reduces the treatment effectiveness significantly. The experts at Custom Compounding explain that tailor-made medications, with their customised ability to cure patients based on their specific molecular characteristics, can significantly improve on these limitations and enhance treatment results. Moreover, knowing who will respond and who will not to a particular treatment have a major impact on how clinical trials are carried out, which eventually reduces their failures whilst also saving money on giving the medicine to patients for whom it will never make any difference.
Predict health-risk potentials
The incorporation of personalised medicine into the healthcare system can enable patients and doctors to be better aware of underlying conditions even before the development of signs and symptoms. With this knowledge, doctors can apply preventive measures and treatments prior to clinical symptoms to delay the disease or the severity of it.
Aid treatment planning
Tailor-made medication helps healthcare providers to plan treatments by categorizing people into unique subgroups based on their specific characteristics. It also reduces side effects and toxicity of treatment significantly by knowing which patient is prone to be non-responsive to a particular targeted therapy. This enables the doctor to identify and prescribe an alternative treatment.
Reduce medication costs
With many benefits in terms of treatment enhancement and prevention, personalized medicine is expected to eventually reduce the overall cost of healthcare, making it more economical for both patients and the taxpayer. This will also benefit pharmaceutical companies that are looking forward to identifying target molecules for drug design as it helps to reduce the duration and costs of trials. Tailor-made medication also potentially revives drugs that were previously thought to be ineffective because they had shown mixed results or negative side effects in some people when used in the past.
Enhance treatment results
Personalized medicine specifically looks set to enhance the treatment results in various fields of medicine. Oncology, for example, has so far derived the greatest benefits of tailor-made medicines. Even though cancer is a serious life-threatening condition, the treatment is still expensive and often involves many adverse side effects. Personalized medicine can help prevent the onset of cancer in patients and their family members through genetic screening. It also helps in classifying tumours with molecular signalling pathways. In addition to oncology, many studies have proved that tailor-made medication improves the treatment results of many other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, CNS disorders, and certain infectious diseases.
There is still so much more to come
Despite dating back in the 1960s, the concept of personalised medicine is still in its infancy. One of the reasons is because pre‑prescription genetic screening is still not a routine practice. The concept of tailor-made medication has yet not been incorporated into global medical education, which creates a gap between basic science and medicine. Some people are afraid that the knowledge of public genetic code may result in an attack on personal privacy or lead to a drive for genetically designed babies. Another factor that affects the development of tailor-made medication is whether the additional costs may put an extra financial burden on the consumer. There are definitely concerns and drawbacks when it comes to tailor-made medicine, but they are far offset by the potential benefits.
Personalised medicine has brought tremendous advances in the understanding and treatment of diseases over recent years. Despite certain concerns, tailor-made medication looks set to continue its rise. The introduction of this new method requires a large initial investment but also promises the reward of more cost-effective medical practice in the future. Moreover, tailor-made medication also brings a human touch to medical treatment, where patients are treated as a person, not just their illness.
James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
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