For centuries, healthcare providers strive to create a plan to keep their patients at peak health. Technology has come a long way to provide more tools with precision medicine and personalized medicine. What is the difference between these two concepts though? Or is there any difference?
Precision medicine is a relatively new approach to treating diseases and disorders in people. By using genetic testing, lifestyle, and environment, doctors can create a plan to treat and prevent diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Most of what precision medicine relies upon is genetic research of not just a singular person, but entire subsets. Genomics data is still a relatively new tool for doctor’s to use, but it has already produced more reliable information on how diseases work demographically. Furthermore, with genetic testing becoming cheaper and more easily accessible, researchers are continuously discovering what genomics data can uncover regarding medical treatment and prevention.
Personalized medicine refers primarily to the information a personal physician would acquire, such as past illnesses, family history, age, weight, lifestyle, etc. Personalized means a health care plan is geared more towards a specific plan for a specific person.
However, this definition can be construed incorrectly. Some people erroneously believe it means that medicines are uniquely created for the person as well. This simply is not true. While medications will be chosen specifically for the condition or conditions a person has, no medicine is uniquely created for their plan.
What is the Difference?
In past years, personalized medicine and precision medicine were used interchangeably. It has only been recently that experts have been debating over whether or not they should be separate terms. Some experts and associations don’t believe it matters because their definitions are similar.
There is a growing number of experts. However, that believe it does matter for one reason: genetics. Genomics data is the one thing that truly sets precision medicine apart from personalized medicine. But while the boundaries of genomic data are still being discovered, some still believe the differences aren’t all that different.
The takeaway of all this is while personalized medicine and precision medicine are very similar medical tools in treatment, there are differences. Precision medicine relies on genetic data while personalized medicine relies on your personal family history and lifestyle. Whether this is enough to consider them entirely different tools, however, is still up for debate.
As a professional in the field of pharmacogenomics, I spend a lot of time talking about how to pronounce that word and what it actually means. As I’ve written about at length, it simply describes the study of how a person’s genetic composition affects they way various drugs or medications are metabolized. While its long been known that different people respond to the same stimulus differently, the field of study truly erupted in the 1960s and has since been applied to personalized medicine for those suffering from cancers and other intense illnesses.
But move over, pharmacogenomics, there’s a new player in town. While the study of how a perosn’s genes impact the way they react to drugs is important, there’s a crucial step in between the actual DNA itself and the breakdown of a drug — the protein. DNA itself is nothing but an instruction manual for the cell to read and manufacture various proteins. Even after the “instructions” have been read, the resulting protein can vary in shape, function, and form for a grab-bag of reasons. As such, while the study of genes is still an urgent one, so is the study of the proteins those genes code for. Enter pharmacoproteomics.
The field of proteomics has been around for centuries as the study of the proteins that execute tasks in the body. Humans can have up to 2 million different varieties of proteins in their bodies at one time, all in charge of different tasks.
Pharmacoproteomics, then, is a broad term that describes how drugs and proteins interact and affect each other’s function. Drugs can radically influence a protein’s ability to do its job by changing its shape, changing its environment, or disabling it altogether. By the same token, a protein may change a drug’s efficacy by metabolizing it in a way that prevents it from taking the desired effect.
This relatively new field is going to zero in even further on ways that we can tailor medicines to a person’s unique makeup. While small still, pharmacoproteomics may shed some light on even more of the reasons drugs work differently on different people and help us make more people well.
Since the 1960s, the field of pharmacogenomics has blossomed. Researchers are daily discovering how a person’s genes and genome impact how they metabolize and react to various stimuli, including drugs and medicines. Although these discoveries have been most intensely applied to oncology, they’ve found a happy audience in children’s medicines, cardiovascular treatments, and even cures for the common cold.
The hangup for many of these fields has been the incredible cost of getting the proper genetic information to adjust a prescription or dosage suggestion on a patient by patient basis. Heretofore, getting that data has proven costly and time consuming and not for any incredible benefit to a large enough population to take off. In addition, there has been no collective database for housing all this information so that doctors can easily search diseases or conditions and find a list of the genes they need to account for when they consider prescribing medications.
However, modern developments in technology have driven down the cost significantly, leading to the increased feasibility of folding in this information into regular healthcare practices. Researchers at Avera Health are in the process of developing the GenFolio, a comprehensive searchable encyclopaedia. It’s functionality is simple: after testing a person’s genome from either a blood or saliva sample, GeneFolio produces an actionable plan for physicians to use to treat various maladies, from psychiatric disorders to cardiovascular problems.
Hailing from North Palm Beach, Michael Harper is a highly accomplished business professional serving North Palm Beach, Florida, and Juno Beach, Florida. He has amassed over 15 years of experience within the areas of sales management, sales training, business development, and entrepreneurship.
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Over the past several years, Michael has begun to specialize almost exclusively in the clinical laboratory and diagnostic testing space. He currently serves as an Account Manager between clinical laboratories and healthcare providers. This line of work includes a variety of specialized blood testing, genetic testing, and much more. Michael Harper’s North Palm Beach and Juno Beach clients make up the largest percentage of his clientele, but the breadth of his services reaches all throughout Florida.
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Michael has truly enjoyed this new, exciting undertaking as it has been a pleasure to work in an environment where there is a constant and ever-growing need to deliver timely and precise testing results to patients and healthcare providers. As Harper contends, the healthcare industry is a “people” service. That is why Michael Harper North Palm Beach prides himself on going the extra mile for his clients, ensuring that each patient gets the best possible care available. In laboratory testing, there is nothing more important than delivering accurate results and superior service to the physicians and providers.
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Michael Harper is excited about what the future holds for the healthcare industry, specifically laboratory testing. He has been privy to the factual evidence that shows the industry is on the cusp of some incredible breakthroughs that will forever change the way we perform laboratory testing. As more doctors and scientists find their way down to Florida, more developments that will keep individuals from succumbing to addiction will find a market.
For healthcare providers and patients alike, the level of efficiency and effectiveness is nothing shy of impressive. Michael Harper North Palm Beach has already begun to see many of these changes take place. For years, blood tests have required six tubes of blood to be drawn. Nowadays, Michael is beginning to see the rollout of FDA-approved blood tests that require nothing more than a finger prick. This is just one example of the many revolutionary changes that our currently in development and soon to be introduced to the public.
Outside of his professional endeavors, Michael Harper’s North Palm Beach ties make him a dedicated philanthropist who cares deeply about supporting and giving back to the community. He credits his faith as the driving force behind his commitment to philanthropy. While he supports a wide range of causes, Michael is most passionate about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens. When it comes time to relax, Michael enjoys taking advantage of all that the great state of Florida has to offer.