In recent years, precision medicine has emerged as a promising tool for providing patients suffering from complex diseases with comprehensive care. Whether it is traumatic cancer, cardiac disease, lung disorder, or COVID-19 for that matter, the precision medicine approach has proved to be very effective in improving patients’ health or reduction of disease symptoms. Breakthrough developments in life sciences and technological advancements have brought about a significant change in clinical diagnosis and treatment as the focus is moving towards providing precise, predictable care personalised to patients.
In February, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic developed the ‘My Personal Mutanome (MPM)’ platform that promises the growth of cancer gene therapies and genome-informed drug discovery. This platform, according to the team, will pave the way for a better understanding of mutations at the human interactome network level, developing new insights in cancer genomics and treatments, possibly resulting in developing precision medicine for cancer. Interestingly, the team is also working to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) for drug target identification and precision medicine drug discovery for cardiovascular and other complex diseases like Alzheimer’s.
A study published in the Nature Medicine in August 2020 indicated that precision medicine, aided by the application of AI, could help develop a screening tool for a subtype of autism, thus facilitating early diagnosis and intervention.
All these examples indicate a paradigm shift towards use of advanced technologies for bringing precision medicine into clinical care. The path to personalised care certainly has obstacles such as gaps in clinical research, the need to analyse complex datasets, and insufficient technologies. In order to make precision medicine more effective and integrating into everyday clinical care, organisations will require advanced technologies and relevant use cases, along with providing care givers access to analytical tools that help derive meaningful insights out of large data sets. Precision medicine as a concept has had theoretical existence for long, and operationalising the same has been a distant goal for healthcare organisations. To achieve this, it is imperative for organisations to overcome challenges related to workflow optimisation, cost minimisation, and improving both patient and physician education.
This issue presents an article titled ‘Personalising Prescription’ that talks about how this approach helps with complex disease indications. In the article, the authors take us through the relevance and application of personalised prescription for oncology, orphan diseases such as Muscular Dystrophy (MD), oral diseases. The article also outlines challenges in integrating genomics and cell-based technologies into routine clinical practice and stresses on the importance of preparing next generation clinicians and researchers, and enhancing knowledge of healthcare professionals towards addressing the same.