Personalized medicine means that the “one size fits all” approach to treatment is changing.
- What is personalized medicine?
Personalized medicine is, above all, the individuation of care and treatment. Not so long ago the same diagnosis meant the same treatment for all patients with this disease, regardless of their individual biological characteristics or differences in lifestyle.
Today, thanks to advances in research and greater attention to the patient and their needs, medicine is moving more and more towards individualization of treatment and care.
- Question 2: What does this mean in practical terms?
This means that one can have a similar diagnosis to another patient, but receive very different treatment.
For a doctor, three factors combine to differentiate treatments:
-The biological specificity of each individual means that everyone does not react in the same way to a particular pathology or treatment,
-The molecular specificity of the pathology, which manifests itself very differently in one patient compared with another. It can be identified by sophisticated diagnostic tests – companion tests – used mainly in oncology,
– The patient’s lifestyles and preferences, which are becoming more and more important. These play an important role for chronic diseases such as diabetes, where the patient’s autonomy in the management of their illness is at the heart of the carer’s concerns. Therefore the challenge is to prescribe an effective treatment with few adverse effects which the patient must be able to incorporate into their lifestyle and their system of values. This is the condition for the success of these long-term procedures.
- How do you intervene in the context of personalized medicine problems? What value do you add?
More than ever, we need to understand patients through qualitative approaches such as ethnography and online communities to understand their practical constraints and real needs. This background research is a great help to our clients in the development of medicines and personalized services. Ifop Healthcare has a perfect command of these approaches.