precision medicine
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Precision Medicine/Another Approach to Treatment

We spend more than enough time talking to about what is wrong with our health care system.  Let's move in a different direction today and talk about how our treatment methods are becoming more precise.  It is called Precision Medicine.

In a world where medical advances have made “the impossible” become realities, many of us still suffer from illnesses that lack an effective cure. Two people get the same type of cancer.  Why does the same treatment work for one person and not another?

What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine is an approach to disease treatment and prevention that takes into account our own genetic, environmental, and lifestyle characteristics to determine the best treatment methods.  Precision medicine is also called personalized medicine or targeted therapy.

Unlike a one-size-fits-all approach, precision medicine looks at how these factors affect the way we respond to different types of medical treatments. In short, it’s medical treatment tailored to our needs.  Think of it as a road map that offers multiple roads to recovery rather than just one. Which road is taken for you may be different than the road taken for me based on our specific genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. 

Examples of precision medicine

Precision medicine is already being applied in certain cancer therapies. For example, the molecular testing of cancerous tumors can help determine which treatment will best target the type of genetic mutations found in a particular tumor. This offers the patient a tailored treatment plan on the molecular level. And precision medicine should begin improving treatments for conditions like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even mental illness.

While precision medicine provides a hopeful outlook on the future of medicine, it is not yet part of routine care. However, there are ongoing clinical trials that you should ask about.  It is also possible that all or part of the genetic testing may be covered by insurance.  Whether it will have the type of success it promises has yet to be determined. But with more funding and effort dedicated to its research, you can expect to see evidence of its effectiveness in the coming years. 

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