Have you ever been prescribed a new medication by a doctor, only to find out that the dose needed to be changed? Or that the medicine didn’t work at all and you had to continue to find the right one?
This is a familiar story for many, as the current medical practice for finding out if a medicine or dose will work for a patient is simply trial-and-error. Because different medications affect people differently, it’s difficult for doctors to be 100% certain that something will work. However, this landscape is quickly changing with the recent introduction of Precision Medicine.
Precision Medicine is an emerging field that is meant to give doctors the tools to accurately analyze which medications and dosages will work on certain patients, often with great accuracy. It’s possible to analyze people’s genetic codes to understand how one will react to certain substances or experiences, a method that doctors are hoping can bring us into the future with certainty.
For example, the methods of Precision Medicine that are currently developing center around cancer treatment, with doctors contrasting parts of a patient’s body that have cancer to parts that don’t to analyze how their body reacts to cancer and what is necessary to help with medication.
This is most often done through analyzing the DNA of a patient’s cancerous tumor, then comparing that with normal cells to learn how the cancer spread and to help strengthen other areas of the body so the cancer doesn’t grow stronger.
Another aspect of Precision Medicine that is greatly beneficial for cancer treatment is the ability to maximize the benefits of taking a medication while also minimizing the side effects. Cancer treatment is frequently associated with negative side effects, making the trial-and-error process of prescribing especially uncomfortable for the patient. If doctors are able to prescribe the medicines and dosage more precisely in the future, this could mean that patients will have to endure less discomfort when finding a medicine to treat their cancer.
The future of medicine will always be bright, but the role that Precision Medicine plays is incredibly essential. Through Precision Medicine, we can construct a future where doctors are able to prescribe accurately and treat patients more effectively than ever before!