Personalized Medicine Essay

Essay on Personalized Medicine:

The article Towards Personalized Medicine by Stewart Bates gives a renewed hope in disease intervention by using personalized medicine. As opposed to medicine that is made for the general population suffering from the same disease, the article relates information of how medicine is personalized to an individual. Personalized medicine refers to designing disease interventions that are in tandem with an individual’s characteristics (Bates, 2). In relaying this renewed hope, Bates gives several examples in the treatment of cancer that have yielded effective responses through using personalized medicine.

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Though the article notes that a great deal of research has to be inculcated before personalized medicine can be utterly integrated in society, the few researches done have yielded remarkable progress to mandate preferences into research with different forms of cancer. The article shows the progress made in the area of personalized medicine with regards to treatment, diagnosis, relevance and specialization.

The article shows that the effectiveness in treatment, diagnosis, relevance and specialization may make personalized medicine a more preferred intervention rather than general medicine.

With regards to treatment, several researches have been pursued in trying to find effective interventions for different forms of cancer using personalized medicine. One such research that has been highlighted in Bates article has been treatment for breast cancer using Herceptin. The drug, which is also referred to as Trastuzumab, is used as both a treatment, as well as, diagnostic module in situations where HER-2 over-expression in breast cancer is present. The medicine is preferred in metastatic and adjuvant settings, which define a molecular subset for breast cancer patients in which Herceptin proves most effective.

Diagnostics have been made increasingly efficient, due to the use of personalized medicine.

A good example of this aspect is again highlighted in the article using breast cancer. The article highlights the use of Oncotype Dx, which is referred to as a 21 gene PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) panel, which is quite effective in predicting the recurrence of breast cancer in ten years (Bates, 2). The diagnostic is personalized in that the prediction is made for persons undergoing tamoxifen therapy and have node negative breast cancer, as well as, are ER – positive (Bates, 2). With this regards, doctors using Oncotype Dx as a ten year recurrence diagnostic tool can effectively know if the patient needs to sign up for additional therapy or not. If not, the patient, as well as, the funding organization gets to save up a lot of resources in managing breast cancer.

Relevance is another criterion that this article highlights with regards to gastric cancer. In essence personalized medicine is supposed to be specific to disease and characteristics of the individual. However, as shown by Herceptin intervention, relevance of personalized medicine can be broadened to cover other diseases with the same characteristics. So far, Herceptin has been seen as highly effective in patients suffering from gastric cancers, and have a subset of HER-2 that is positive. This broadening of relevance could see personalization of medicine become even more specific to an individual than it is right now.

Specialization is another criteria covered by the article as Bates shows that whereas a certain personalized medicine is specialized to individual characteristics, the medicine may not be effective for all the people sharing the same characteristics. An example is the drug AstraZeneca’s Iressa, which is an EGFRA (Epidermal Growth Factor) inhibitor (Bates, 3).

The drug only proved effective for non-smokers, Asians and women, while it was ineffective for others in the broader population.

In conclusion, the article shows that the effectiveness in treatment, diagnosis, relevance and specialization may make personalized medicine a more preferred intervention rather than general medicine.

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