Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

State of personalized medicine in 2009

I have found some interesting articles on personalized medicine around the web in recent weeks which, when taken collectively, provide a useful examination of current developments in this area.

An article in the Vancouver Sun, ‘One-size-fits-all no more‘ provides an interesting overview on the topic of personalized medicine, explaining the topic everyday language, and decoding some of the terminology used in this area.

Scott Duke Harris, writing in the Mercury News, includes personalized medicine as a ‘Tech trend to watch in 2009‘ and summarises some of the examples that have made the most progress towards widespread usage.

In addition to technological developments, the increasing affordability of current personalized medicine technologies such as genomic sequencing will advance their use in the healthcare market, which John Carroll describes in the Fierce Biotech blog.

Personalized medicine is frequently concerned with diagnosis – analyzing whether a particular existing treatment is compatible with an individual patient’s genetic makeup. The New York Times looked in detail at this area in a recent article titled ‘Patient’s DNA may be a Signal to Tailor Medication‘, focusing in particular on changes to the U.S. legislative environment to reflect advances in science. It also raises the question as to whether major drug companies will be enthusiastic about personalized medicine technologies that may reduce the sales of existing drugs, by identifying patients for whom they are likely to be ineffective.

It should be borne in mind that the current trends in personalized medicine are mostly concerned with the development of more effective diagnostic techniques, something which is evidenced by all the articles referenced here. It is likely to be many more years before personalized treatments, that combat diseases with unique solutions based on individual patient genetics, become a reality.

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