Personalized Medicine

Personalized Medicine

The ultimate goal of personalized medicine is to maximize the therapeutic benefits and minimize risks of adverse events. Studies suggested that genetic variability at the individuals’ level may influence the course of a disease and individual’s response to prescribed medications. As a result, the concept of pharmacogenetics emerged.

The term pharmacogenetics refers to studying the pharmacological effect of different medication on bases of genetic structure of individuals. It aims to design an individual-based therapeutic scheme that selection of medication and treatment regime relies on matching with genetic sequence that best fits the proposed regime. However, genetic profile alone might only be beneficial in rare occasions to determine definite treatment. Challenges that face the pharmacogenetics advocates are related to the multifactorial nature of disease pathogenesis, coexistence of other diseases and conditions, and factors that may affect the genetic expression in various diseases. Determining the genetic profile of individuals is expensive. Nevertheless, understanding the interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors and determine their role on immune response is essential, as well as factors related to patient him/er– self; age, gender, race, etc. Personalized medicine might be beneficial where targeted treatment strategy is necessary to avoid unnecessary damage resulted from exposure to treatment.

Written for by:

Muteb H Alshammari, BS., MS., PhD student in Biomedical Informatics



Xie H, Frueh FW. Pharmacogenomics steps toward personalized medicine. Personalized medicine 2005; 2(4): 325-37

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