The medicine of the future: personalized medicine Angelina Jolie type
We all heard about Angelina Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy. It seems that this shocking decision came after tests had shown that she carries the BRCA1 cancer gene, leaving her with an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer.
What she has actually done was to fight a genetic predisposition.
A genetic predisposition is an increased likelihood of developing a specific disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. We all inherit from our parents specific genetic variations which can contribute to the development of a disease. But they do not directly cause that disease! Some people will get the disease written into their genetic code, while others will never get sick.
Some genes mutations (like certain mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2- see Angelina’s case) greatly increase a person’s risk of developing a specific disease, while other genes variations (like those in BARD1 and BRIP1 genes) also increase the risk to get that disease, but the overall risk is much smaller. In addition to the identified genetic changes a lot of other factors (lifestyle and environmental factors) can contribute to the development of a disease.
But how is it possible to predict and fight the diseases that haven’t shown their “teeth” just yet, but that we were doomed to die from? How? Using science and medicine into our advantage! Through Personalized Medicine! This form of medicine uses individual’s genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. The chances to receive the perfect medical advice or treatment are much higher when the treatment comes from a doctor who knows exactly the patient’s genetic profile.
The doctor can easily select the accurate medication or therapy and administer it using the proper dose or regimen. Personalized medicine is the way to predict future diseases and to shape steps that may help avoid or reduce the extent to which an individual will experience a disease. The use of the genetic and genomic knowledge into the diagnose and treatment of the patients will revolutionize medical practice.
In present, many scientists from the medical field are actively involved into developing ways to customize medical treatments to suit our unique genetic signatures. But there still are huge steps to make until personalized medicine will become a fully functioning reality. Not any medical system from the world can afford the creation of a national database with an electronic medical record and personalized genomic data available for clinical use. The genetic tests are expensive and not accessible for everybody so a personalized health plan, with personalized treatments, and personal clinical information available for research are still in the future. In the future of the medicine… When we all be Angelina…