Where to learn about the science behind precision medicine and whether these treatments could be right for you or your loved ones.
Personalized medicine, or precision medicine, is a new form of medical treatment that is changing the way doctors can prevent and treat diseases.
In this form of medical care, researchers develop treatments for cancers and other chronic diseases that are tailored to small variations in the genetic makeup of the patients who suffer from them. It also encompasses wellness and disease prevention by using a person’s genetic sequence to predict if they are likely to develop any preventable diseases.
Precision medicine has already made a difference in the lives of people suffering from mutations of melanoma, cystic fibrosis, and other diseases. But it is still a new science, which leaves both patients and medical professionals with questions about how best to use it and who it is appropriate for.
If you are looking for further information on personalized medicine, there are many resources available to help you learn what precision treatments and wellness plans are available and whether they are the right choice for you or your loved ones.
The Human Genome Project
Personalized medicine was developed out of the Human Genome Project. This initiative, which was completed in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was the first successful sequencing of the genetic code that makes up human DNA.
Genetic sequencing is the basis of personalized treatments, which uses individual genetic profiles to determine the best way to treat and prevent chronic diseases. Learning about the Human Genome Project is the first step to understanding precision medicine and what it means.
The Human Genome Project Information Archive contains information on the original studies done by the DOE and the NIH.
Learning about genome science
Since 2003 when the human genome was first sequenced, many research institutions have begun investigating genome science. These research institutions study not only the medical possibilities of genome science but also its legal and ethical implications, as well as how this new branch of science should affect government policies and research.
There are several government organizations devoted to investigating genome science, including the NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. You can find information and updates about genome science and precision medicine on the Public Health Genomics Research Knowledge Base, which is kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many universities and medical institutions also have centers devoted to genome science research. Several prominent ones include the Duke Center for Genomic Sciences and Policy, the Genome Sciences Department of the University of Washington, and the Center for Excellence in Genomic Sciences, a branch of Johns Hopkins University Medicine.
Learning about personalized medicine
If you are interested in pursuing a personalized medical treatment or wellness plan, it's important to learn not just about genome sciences but about how precision treatments work for individuals.
There are many organizations sharing information about general developments in the field of precision medicine as well as medical centers that can help you understand whether personalized treatments might be right for you.
The Department of Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt Health and the Duke Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine are two leaders in the field of precision medicine. Both institutes specialize in implementing personalized medical treatments and in educating the public on the implications of precision medicine.
Many patients are interested in personalized treatments in order to combat various mutations ofcancer. The American Cancer Institute keeps up to date on research in the field of precision treatments. On their website, you can find many articles for cancer patients and their loved ones on how personalized medicine could affect their choices.
There are also many advocacy groups that work with governments and medical centers to advance funding and treatments in the field of personalized medicine. One of the most prominent is the Personalized Medicine Coalition, which shares news on medical and policy updates, as well as providing resources to those who are interested in pursuing precision treatments.
Finally, to learn how the United States government is researching and promoting personalized medicine, you can visit the website of the Food and Drug Administration, which has an entire section devoted to updates and developments in the field of precision treatments.
July 27, 2016
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA