Illinois hospital system launches personalized medicine program

personalizedPersonalized medicine can mean many things to many people.

To the healthcare professionals at NorthShore University HealthSystem, it means a comprehensive approach to patient care that takes into account individual DNA and family medical history.

Earlier this year, the four-hospital network in Illinois announced a personalized medicine program that “utilizes an individual’s health history and DNA to better predict, prevent and diagnose certain diseases, and develop tailored therapies to fight them,” according to the hospital system’s website. Hospital officials describe the program as one of the most comprehensive in the country.

One of the hospital system’s six new initiatives includes a pharmacogenetics clinic that preemptively provides genetic testing to help predict how patients will respond to certain drugs. The clinic allows patients to have genetic testing performed and to speak with genetic counselors, pharmacists specially trained in pharmacogenomics, and medical geneticists.

“Today, new and affordable genetic testing allows us to determine an individual’s likelihood to develop disease and respond to specific treatments,” said Michael Caplan, MD, NorthShore’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, in a news release.

“Integrating genetic testing and analysis is akin to the discovery of the X-ray, uncovering a seismic new layer of knowledge that can predict, prevent and treat disease.”

According to a recent Crain’s Chicago Business article, the pharmacogenetics clinic expects to test 20 patients per month. Each test looks for variations in 14 specific genes that could have an impact on how patients will respond to certain medications.


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