You’ve probably heard the words on the news or even at your doctor’s office.
But how does it affect your life right now? Precision medicine is basically a modern
approach to understanding health. Take asthma.
Asthma affects more than 25 million Americans.
Nearly 1 in 12. They all have one thing in common: a condition that makes breathing difficult. In most clinics these patients are treated with an inhaler and the same drug: albuterol. But are 25 million people all the same?
If you have asthma your condition depends on where you grew up, how old you are,
and your ancestry. It also depends on the air you breathe
and if you have carpets or pets. Every patient is unique, so one-size-fits-all remedies don’t always work. It’s not just asthma. For diabetes, cancer
and most other diseases today’s treatments are based on obvious
symptoms, standard tests and common drugs. Precision medicine, however, starts
with creating a clear picture of health by collecting, connecting and analyzing
many kinds of information. This could be data you provide from
your fitness tracker or it could be what scientists are learning in their labs
right now about the underlying causes of disease. Genetics, your health history and
other details are added to the mix. When we integrate such data from millions of people, your clinician and researchers can understand your health risks, how
others liked you responded to a disease or drug, ways to prevent disease and what
makes you unique so we can stop focusing on diseases and care for you
as an individual. The more information we collect and
connect, the better scientists will understand health, and as that knowledge
network grows we can ensure that every patient everywhere gets the right
treatment, in the right dose, at the right time