Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Authored by Gaëtan Fraikin, CEO, Addictive Health
This is part one of a timely 4-part series covering key aspects of precision medicine to understand (1) what it is, (2) how genomics powers it, (3) what genomics will expand to and what other data modalities will eventually be added to the mix, and (4) what disease areas will benefit from it beyond cancer.
Part 1 - Defining precision medicine and looking at its future
Part 2 - Leveraging genomics as foundation
Part 3 - Going beyond DNA and genomics
Part 4 - Going beyond cancer
Before we get started
The concept of precision medicine is not new. Clinicians have always striven to provide precise recommendations to their patients. But its meaning has significantly evolved over the past decades. Lately, it has come to refer to the way personal data and biomarkers - particularly and for now genetic biomarkers - might be used to tailor treatments for individual patients. According to Harvard Data Science Review, “Precision medicine’s contemporary proponents effectively have two visions in mind. The first is essentially an advancement of pharmacogenetics — the development of pharmaceuticals on the basis of genetic information. The second is an increased ability to harness and aggregate new data sources concerning the manifestation and treatment of disease. The idea is that by identifying specific genes, biomarkers, or other factors that alter the probability of acquiring or alleviating disease, researchers will be able to design more precise interventions.” Let's define what it is, have a look at its core data modality - Genomics, then look beyond into genomics and other data modalities, and the diseases areas that benefit from it today, and in the future.
Precision medicine defined
According to the "Precision Medicine Initiative", precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genetics, environment, and lifestyle for each individual.” Clinicians have tailored their recommendations to individual factors such as age and gender, patient preferences, mobility levels, community resources, preexisting conditions, and other mitigating circumstances for decades. The difference between a traditional assessment of a situation and true “precision medicine” is the degree of reliance on data – with at its core genomic data – to make decisions about diagnostic and treatment paths that may yield the best outcomes for patients. Over the past two decades, genomics has proven to be the most significant contributor to the understanding of health and disease, for the purpose of discovery, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment selection, drug development and disease monitoring.
Full speed ahead
What’s the future of precision medicine? Precision medicine is the perfect model to align the interests of all key stakeholders involved in public health today and tomorrow. In simple terms, it’s a win-win for all. First and foremost, the vision is to progressively switch our health philosophy from a “sickcare” system to a “healthcare” system. With the ultimate goal to prevent disease from occurring, rather than dealing with the consequences of the disease in human suffering and economic losses. People’s health and quality of life will significantly improve, health systems will deliver better outcomes, payers will see long-term savings, economies as a whole will perform better with a healthier, more productive workforce and countries will be able to redirect some of their health excess budget towards prevention, environment, education and other life quality improvement programs. So, the question today is no longer whether precision medicine will further develop, it is when and how.
/ Continue to Part 2 learn about Genomics as the foundation of precision medicine
By Gaëtan Fraikin / CEO / Addictive Health / www.addictive.health / + 1 760 580 3908 / firstname.lastname@example.org