Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Personalised medicine

Genes determine the color of our eyes and shape of our bodies. Genes also determine our susceptibility to disease and how we respond to medicine.

Researchers believe that each person has about 35,000 genes. The complete set of genes together is known as the human genome, commonly referred to as "the instruction manual" for how the body works. Each gene carries instructions for making proteins, which direct the body's cells and functions.

Most cells have 46 chromosomes--23 from each parent. Chromosomes contain thousands of genes, which are made up of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the chemical material that is inherited.

Genomics is the study of an individual's gene structure, including how the genes interact with each other and with the environment. Experts say genomics has the potential to revolutionize the practice of medicine. That revolution, called "personalized medicine," includes the use of genomic information to improve the diagnosis of disease, as well as the prevention and treatment of disease.

An example of a preventive approach is when a genetic test predicts which diseases an individual is likely to develop. For instance, people who have certain mutations in the BRCA1 gene have a high risk of developing breast, ovarian, and possibly prostate, and colon cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Alterations in the BRCA2 gene have been associated with breast, pancreatic, gallbladder, and stomach cancers. An example of a treatment approach is when a genetic test determines whether a person is among the 10 percent of those for whom a particular drug is likely to work.

Felix Frueh, Ph.D., associate director for genomics in the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmaceutics, says, "Personalized medicine tries to answer questions like: Why do some people get cancer and others don't? Why is cancer more aggressive in this person compared to that one? Why does this drug work for you and not me? Why does someone need twice the standard dose to be effective? And why do others need only half of the standard dose?"

"The goal of personalized medicine is to get the best medical outcomes by choosing treatments that work well with a person's genomic profile, or with certain characteristics in the person's blood proteins or cell surface proteins," Frueh says. Genetic information isn't usually meant to be used alone to make treatment decisions, but rather is used with other factors such as the patient's family history, medical history, clinical exam, and other non-genomic diagnostic tests.



Anonymous serpico said...

The only good medicine is cough syrup. Cough syrup is food.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Bartleby said...


10:05 PM  
Blogger Tuco Ponderusso said...

Every try cocaine, Bartleby? I plan on getting a hold of it sometime within the next few months. Aside from feeling good, I hope it'll help me write creatively and/or speed up my work on a dictionary project.

Along the same vein, if you still have problems getting access to enhancements for your machine and have a PO box you feel comfortable using, I can mail small quantities from where I'm from.

I remain, pseudonymously,
Tuco Ponderusso

10:26 AM  
Blogger Bartleby said...


I don't take drugs, but will wait for neural implants to properly regulate my dopamine levels and so on.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Tuco Ponderusso said...


This all reminds me of an old Dos (or Windows) game called Syndicate.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

Syndicate? *googles it* Ah, cyberpunk game containing drug use. Cool.

I don't know if I ever explained the need to self-medicate. Well let's just say that the situation is never perfect. If it is, then good for you.

Needless to say, there are healthier ways, but it's the same principle.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Tuco Ponderusso said...

Of course. Drugs* play a small, practically insignificant role in my life, hence my curiousity surrounding cocaine -- a curiousity that has dwindled due to my being unable to get a hold of it quickly as well as my no longer being interested in writing.

For me, the best personalised medicine is that of daydreaming, especially when fuelled by novels and films.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

Daydreaming - yes, the great concentration-destroyer.. Though I need it because it's my only available upload when I'm out and about.

I just posted an article on virtual biomedicine too - you could one day run simulations of your internal structures and see the exact effect that a drug would have upon your individual biosystems.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Bartleby said...

Btw, my PO Box is

PO BOX 1081
Toowong Queensland Australia 4066

Send me whatever you want.

9:14 PM  

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