Precision medicine is an emerging approach that factors in an individual’s molecular profile, environment and lifestyle in order to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases more effectively.
It’s not about developing new treatments for each and every individual; it’s about considering individual differences in the course of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. For example, by identifying specific biomarkers—indicators such as an individual’s molecular makeup or the molecular profile of their disease characteristics—patients can be classified into subgroups based on how susceptible they are to certain diseases, how those diseases will develop, or how they’ll respond to particular treatments. This information can then be used to predict what the most effective course of action will be for those individuals.
Although genomics has grabbed the spotlight, other “omics” technologies are allowing us to study all the molecules in fluid or tissue samples, including RNA (transcriptomics), proteins (proteomics), metabolic by-products (metabolomics), fatty acids and other lipids (lipidomics), and microbes (microbiomics).
But precision medicine is aimed at capturing much more than molecular information, including socioeconomic, cultural, environmental and behavioral factors, drawn from a diverse range of sources. The nascent field of exposomics, for example, looks to measure how the sum total of all the exposures from an individual’s environment, occupation, diet, lifestyle and other sources impact on health.1 The new study of behavioromics, meanwhile, aims to reveal how changes in behavior, monitored throughout a range of activities, could relate to health.2 Together, all this information has the potential to provide a better understanding of the many complex mechanisms underlying a person’s health, disease or condition.
We often hear about the impact that precision medicine will have on healthcare systems and how we personally manage our health. But what about those tasked with bringing precision medicine tests and treatments to the market? What are they doing, what challenges do they face, and how are they working with stakeholders within the wider healthcare ecosystem?
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Medidata Solutions and Thermo Fisher Scientific sponsored research by Newsweek Vantage to survey diagnostics developers and biotechnology and pharmaceutical (biopharma) organizations involved in drug discovery and development, in the US, UK, Germany and France. We supplemented survey insights with in-depth interviews offering different perspectives on the role of precision medicine in healthcare.
Click here to download the full Vantage report.
Learn more about Thermo Fisher precision medicine solutions here.
1 “Exposome and Exposomics”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed May 15, 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/default.html.
2 “For Big Data to Help Patients, Sharing Health Information is Key, Experts Say,” Stanford Medicine, May 26, 2015, https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/05/for-big-data-to-help-patients-sharing-health-information-is-key.html.
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