We hear this a lot now a days.. but what does it really mean? Personalized Medicine (PM) is a more recent effort to create therapies and solutions for individualized patients. Instead of looking at a disease as one entity, we use our new technology and new knowledge to breakdown the disease even further before we treat it.
For example, we won’t treat all the lung cancer the same way, because the origins of the tumors from different patients can vary greatly. So once we figure out what type of tumor it is we will approach it with a method we know is reasonable. This sounds pretty obvious right? Like this is exactly what medicine has been doing all these years. But it hasn’t been the case for decades.
This is partly due to the type of drugs that are available. Many drugs available for treatment were considered good when it worked in a majority of people. This has been due to the lack of understanding of many of these diseases on a molecular level throughout the years. But this article from the Washington Post does an excellent job talking about the emergence of personalized care and FDA approval of drugs that target a smaller population groups.
But then of course comes the problem of finances, and how many of these drugs seem not viable due to the costs and the number of patients it will be able to help. Reading this made my insides turn. We have people out there working so hard to find a cure, both in a lab and hospital setting. They are working countless hours to treat these patients in anyway possible, and many find novel ways to help. But to say that it is not viable because of financial reasons, seems like we as a society are putting a value on human life too easily.