What Is Precision Medicine, Anyway?

And what does it mean for me?

After President Obama announced the Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative in his January, 2015 State of the Union Address, internet searches for “precision medicine” have more than doubled. With all of this new buzz around precision medicine, you may be wondering exactly what it is and what it means for you.

The aim of precision medicine is to use a patient’s genomic information, the entire genetic code of the patient, as well as environment and lifestyle to determine the most effective treatment.  Precision medicine seeks to shed more light on how an individual will respond to various treatment options and select the optimal therapy for the patient. And what this means for you and other patients is the ability to be treated as an individual, instead of being just any other patient.

Applications of Precision Medicine

The short term goal of the Precision Medicine Initiative focuses on new treatments for cancers. According to Francis Collins, MD and Harold Varmus, MD, “oncology is the clear choice for enhancing the near-term impact of precision medicine”, and this is due to a number of reasons. Cancers are common and deadly, and are often treated with harsh, sometimes dangerous therapies. But we know what primarily drives cancers – genomic damage and inherited genetic variations –  and it has been found that each cancer has its own genome. By incorporating the genome-level monitoring pushed for by the Precision Medicine Initiative, the hope is for doctors to be able to more effectively treat each individual case of cancer.

And this precision medicine approach to cancer treatment will be applied to many other diseases: diabetes, influenza, and rarer, severe diseases. By combining knowledge of the genetic signatures of the diseases, the genome of the patient, and previously accumulated information regarding the interactions between other patients’ genetics and the disease in question, we can strive to more quickly and more effectively combat illness.

YouScript and Precision Medicine

The pharmacogenetic testing we perform here at Genelex is one of many important components of precision medicine. By looking at the portion of your genome relevant to processing medications, your doctor will now be able to identify drug-gene and cumulative drug-gene interactions they didn’t know about before, and thus prescribe with more awareness. Not only does this mean finding the drug that will be most effective, this means mitigating the risk of an adverse drug event. Adverse drug events (ADEs) are illnesses or conditions arising from your body reacting to a drug. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, these ADEs are responsible for at least 3.5 million physician office visits and roughly 125,000 hospital admissions every year. Pharmacogenetic testing allows your physician to find the optimal drug for your body and your genetics, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your medication is working and you can start getting better faster.

Come Visit Us at HIMSS 2016!

Once again, over 40,000 health tech professionals, executives, and physicians will come together at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, the largest health care trade show in the United States, running from February 29th to March 4th in Las Vegas.  HIMSS 2016 will be showcasing the newest developments in health IT and providing educational sessions in new health care trends throughout the conference.

The YouScript Precision Prescribing Team will be at HIMSS Booth #12147 providing demos of our award winning YouScript® Precision Prescribing System, as well as information about our YouScript API offerings to integrate YouScript into your EHR. Be sure to stay connected with YouScript on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn and check the Twitter hashtag #HIMSS16 for updates from the conference.