Precision Genomic Medicine in Practice
There are already some examples of Precision Genomic Medicine in practical applications:
The reason a medication may work well for one person, not well for another, and cause serious side effects in yet another is largely because of our personal genetics. Combining pharmacology with genetics – a field called “pharmacogenomics” – promises to improve medication effectiveness while decreasing the risk of adverse side effects. A simple test requiring nothing more than a cheek swab can help your physician prescribe the best drug for you at the best dose based upon the genes that help determine your individual drug response and metabolism rates. You may not be aware of it, but even the U.S. FDA has started recommending pharmacogenomic tests be done on patients prior to prescribing over one hundred different medications.
See the FDA's recommendations here:
Targeted Cancer Therapies
Cancer isn’t a single disease. It is a condition that includes over two hundred different diseases. On top of that, every patient’s cancer is genetically unique. Using the precision medicine approach, oncologists can now monitor and treat each person’s unique cancer through its “genetic fingerprint.” Along with new cancer immunotherapies, these new approaches to cancer treatment are starting to achieve astounding success. Many of these new targeting therapies have only mild side effects, if any – and we all dream about the day that we may be able to reduce or replace traditional chemotherapy with its dreaded debilitating side effects. Tumor sequencing combined with targeted molecular therapies specific to a tumor's genetic mutations is a giant stride forward toward that dream.
Read more about this at the National Cancer Institute website:
Using genomic sequencing, we can now determine whether or not a person is at risk for having different conditions that may affect heart function, such as nerve conduction abnormalities or structural cardiomyopathies. These kinds of tests may be of value for instance, for screening young athletes prior to engaging in strenuous sports. Nearly every major medical condition, from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, autism, and diabetes have some genetic risk component. Researchers are in the process of developing new tools that may help predict, prevent, treat, and the hope is - ultimately cure - these conditions.
Someday soon, DNA sequencing may also allow physicians to more quickly and accurately diagnose infectious diseases. Currently, when a physician suspects an infection, a specimen must be taken and the pathogen grown on a culture growth plate in an incubator. This may take several hours or days - in which case the wait may delay important treatment. With access to direct sequencing of a pathogen's DNA or RNA, physicians could more quickly and accurately determine the microbe responsible for an infection and start appropriate treatment immediately.