The Cornerstone of Personalized Medicine

Feb 7 2013

The Cornerstone of Personalized Medicine

personalized medicine Personalized medicine: it’s all about you. The idea of “personalized” medicine isn’t just about a one-on-one encounter with a doctor, the use of sophisticated mobile applications, or heightened access to healthcare providers, medical records, and services. Personalized medicine also extends into the depths of who each of us are at our essence — to our individual genetic makeup.

Why does this matter? Because now, more than ever before, rapid technological advances and scientific breakthroughs mean we know more about how genes may point to a predisposition for developing certain diseases. By understanding the cause of a disease, rather than focusing solely on its symptoms, we have far greater opportunities to try to delay the onset of a disease — or prevent it altogether.

Understanding our genetic makeup also sheds light on why a medicine may work well in one person but be ineffective in someone else with the same condition. Armed with this information, doctors can tailor treatments to those that carry the greatest chance of success based on a patient’s genetic predisposition.

A relatively new field of study, personalized medicine rocketed onto the scene after the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, the ambitious multi-billion-dollar federal initiative that analyzed 3 billion chemical base pairs involved in DNA and provided the genetic makeup of humans.

“On its surface, the concept of personalized medicine may seem complicated and perhaps a bit futuristic, but it’s far more science than science fiction,” says Philip R. Johnson, MD, chief scientific officer at the CHOP Research Institute. “It’s here now, and it is expanding what scientists understand about disease and changing the ways we care for patients.

And, as in many areas of investigation, research conducted within the Centers of Emphasis at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute serves as the cornerstone of this new foundation in personalized healthcare.

Learn more about personalized medicine and work at CHOP Research by taking a look at our recent Research Annual Report.