Personalized Medicine on the Rise

sascha1 resized 600In the past, most doctors used a “one-size-fits-all” approach when treating their patients with a given drug. Starting off with standard doses, they then observed how well (or not) patients responded and then, if necessary, changed the doses or drugs by a “trial and error” process.

Nowadays, doctors are increasingly aware that genetic variations can cause different patients to respond in different ways to the same medication. To better predict the likely response of an individual to a specific treatment, medical doctors need information about patients’ genetic code (DNA profile/mutations), phenotype (age, race, gender, etc.), and medical history in order to make well-informed decisions regarding drug treatment. That way they will be able to prescribe the right drug at the right dose for the right patient at the right time – personalized medicine.

Personalized medicine is defined as individualized treatment based on a patient’s genetic code as well as his medical and demographic information. The trend towards development of those newer and more efficient types of drugs is increasingly becoming a reality for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as the adoption of genetic technology continues its rapid growth.

The field of genetics has enabled biotechnology companies to develop drugs that are targeted to specific patient genetic profiles. However, to conduct these studies, researchers must source and sequence DNA [derived from cells] from many patients diagnosed with different diseases.

 

Sascha Hasan is the Chief Scientific Officer at Sanguine Biosciences.  He received his PhD in Pharmacology at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.  His research interests include neuroscience, stem cell research, and cancer research.

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