Learn how technology already at our disposal can help providers treat patients with more precision than ever before.
The future of medicine isn’t a one-size-fits-all medical treatment.
As it stands now, we must content ourselves with treatments that do the most good for the most people: there are always going to be outliers, and cost and technology prevent us from helping all of the people all of the time.
But, what if treatment could cater to each individual person, based on not only their lifestyle choices and unique environment but their exact DNA?
What is Precision Medicine?
“Precision medicine” refers to a combination of drugs, procedures and treatments designed for one individual patient. The Precision Medicine Initiative describes it as “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.”
First, genetic information is given by willing gene donors. This information is then scanned, mapped and safely stored with other genomic data. Machine learning then is able to analyze this data, find patterns in it, and create tools to find these kinds of biomarkers in similar patients.
This data then allows doctors to create health strategies for patients of similar ethnicity, background, or overall genetic makeup.
Why Do We Need Precision Medicine?
Not all human bodies are equal. What works on the body chemistry of one of us may have no effect on another. A drug or treatment could even end up having the opposite effect, doing far more damage than good.
Moreover, different combinations of drugs can also produce unusual side-effects in certain people. The only way to navigate this potential minefield is with a personalized map of the patient’s genetic code.
How is Precision Medicine Achieved?
One of the primary avenues for success with precision medicine is pharmacogenomics. The goal of pharmacogenomics is to customize drug dosage and treatment based on the patient’s individual genetic makeup.
Of course, data alone is not enough: to fully implement insights from collected genetic information, the data has to be stored and shared safely. This is where blockchain data sharing can help.
Blockchain is an interconnected series of secure nodes where data is stored in multiple places and tracked by every node on the network. This prevents data from being stolen, altered, or even accessed without the go-ahead from ledgers on the network.
This is useful for something like precision medicine and storing personal genetic information. No one is going to feel comfortable becoming a gene donor if they don’t trust that their most intimate information will be safe.
This is why two-factor authentication and more secure methods of login are so important. Medical professionals looking to log into blockchain-protected information need to be able to do so quickly and securely. Medical tablets, computers, or medical devices with built-in RFID, barcode, smart card, and biometric readers can be logged in with a quick swipe and a pin number.
This kind of transparency that blockchain security provides not only increases confidence in gene donors, but it encourages more donors to come forward. And the more information we have on every conceivable mix of DNA, the more we can leverage it to help all patients in the future.
Where Has Precision Medicine Been Successfully Deployed?
Precision medicine has seen great leaps and strides in the field of cancer research and treatment. The process usually begins with a genomic test, where the patient’s genes are mapped. Then, a doctor or group of doctors will go over the results and recommend a treatment plan based off the patient’s current symptoms and the likely patterns found in their DNA and the DNA of others like them.
Then, tumors are treated with a targeted therapy more customized for how the patient will react. Instead of trial-and-error with chemotherapy or radiation treatments, they can recommend the treatment most likely to be effective. This means moving the treatment process along faster and skipping an uncomfortable or even harmful treatment that the doctor may otherwise have had to try on the patient.
Having the Right Medical Technology for the Job
Precision is a rapidly expanding field. The key to being ready to deploy it is a strong technological strategy, embracing ideas like blockchain networks, secure medical computers, HD medical monitors for diagnosis, powerful servers for AI and machine learning, and an agile policy for piloting new ideas.
To learn more about precision medicine, and the technology needed to successfully implement it, reach out to the experts at Cybernet today.