The development of precision medicine and precision public health
As humans, many things we do are individually tailored to our needs. Our diets, clothing choices and lifestyles differ dependent on requirements, but despite the wide variety of differences between us all we often will receive the same health care.
The aim of developing precision medicine is to move away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ method, and look at improving results through personalised medical care, taking genetic makeup and customisation into account. This development looks to create a healthcare system that has the chance to be pre-emptive as opposed to reactive, and the development of personalised treatment will only improve as our knowledge of genetics increases.
Though the concept of precision medicine is not new, the development of modern medicine and medical practices has allowed new possibilities, such as genome sequencing, wearable tech and data and informatics, to develop and progress. Precision medicine’s success hinges on the successful collaboration of people at all stages of the medical chain – from patients to healthcare providers, to clinical laboratories and academics and researchers. The Pandemic has also highlighted the importance of public health initiatives in protecting and improving public health in a targeted manner. Despite the relative success of mask-wearing, social distancing and track and trace, Covid-19 could be a chance to develop specialised ways of treating infections, and ultimately preventing them before they have the opportunity to spread.
The issues surrounding ‘big data’ will however play a large role in the widescale rollout of precision medicine, and possibly the best example of collecting data and informatics to improve healthcare has been the launch of the Covid-19 NHS Track and Trace app. The recent increase in affordability of wearable technology has started normalising the measurement of an individual’s health state as part of a daily routine. From monitoring steps a few years ago, Apple’s newest smartwatch includes the ability to track heart rate, generate an ECG, monitor your sleep, track exercise, check O2 levels, and share all of this information with people of your choosing.
All of these advancements and many more to come are responsible for the continuing development and potential widespread uptake of precision medicine initiatives and progressive research. Precision medicine relies on a general desire to improve healthcare on a personal level, and utilises cutting-edge technology at the intersection of data, biology and medicine. The collaboration of the laboratory industry is, and will continue to be, at the forefront of further breakthroughs in this field.
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Charlotte Taylor, Marketing Executive, Lab Innovations