On paper, it looks straightforward; the basis of personalised care and targeted therapy lies in the realisation that every patient has a different level of susceptibility to disease, responds differently to the same treatment, and needs different doses for the same effect. Over the last ten years, healthcare has made huge progress in linking genetics with disease prevalence and drug response. What makes personalised medicine distinct as a concept is the fact that it is not only focused on genetics but also takes into consideration clinical and environmental influences, providing more meaningful and more personalised data and information regarding disease prevention and treatment. Let’s also not forget the question of Pharma; the study of genes can help drug developers create targeted treatments which would revolutionise patient care.
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Research is booming. The Human Genome Project in the U.S., the world's largest biological project, mapped out the genetic code of human life, thus triggering off a series of studies and research on identifying and isolating disease risk factors on an individual basis. We’ve seen similar programmes launching in the UK with The 100,000 Genomes Project and massive cross-border genomics cooperation in Europe.
With personalised medicine’s potential to eradicate so many of healthcare’s bottom line woes, what is there not to like?
But there are obstacles ahead. How can personalised medicine move from piloted research to an accepted standard of care that the entire population can benefit from? What will it take for physicians to accept that personalised medicine has enough value for them to give it their support? Will policy makers react in time to allow for its smoother implementation and where could the science have the most valuable impact.
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Ultimately, is the outcome really worth the cost – in research, time, resources and even patient hope?
In this issue, HealthManagement.org explores the promise of personalised medicine. Healthcare experts highlight these very challenges, discuss where it could have the greatest potential, and provide signposts along the path to the application of personalised medicine in the real world.
Our contributors talk about next-generation sequencing, a human-centric approach on data use, the FAIR4Health data sharing project, phenotyping imaging, the application of personalised medicine in radiology, cardiology, and oncology, humanism in personalised medicine, the role of telehealth, and how personalised medicine intersects with public health for optimal care.
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In our Management section, we focus on the influence of sex and gender in medicine and the importance of integrating creativity in organisations through diverse approaches to teamwork. The latest Winning Practices in healthcare cover emerging healthcare technologies and their cutting-edge implementation and making a success of cross-border hiring. Also in focus is the people-powered health movement, where patients are equal partners with healthcare personnel in the care continuum, and the use of artificial intelligence in diagnostic neuroradiology.
We hope this journal will inspire you to make new and fruitful steps in your practice. As always, we welcome your feedback.