Personalized Medicine: An Idea Whose Time is Approaching
- Robert RobertsEmail Robert Roberts
The field of Cardiology has seen major advancements in the past 50 years, including the advent of cardiac catheterization, bypass surgery, angioplasty, defibrillators and ablation. Basic research and clinical trials have defined the efficacy and safety of a range of treatments such as statin therapy for coronary artery disease and ACE inhibitors for heart failure. As a result, this "evidence-based medicine" has lead to the development and widespread use of clinical guidelines that have helped reduce cardiac mortality by more than 50% over the past 30 years.
The 21st century is poised to implement an even higher standard of evidence-based medicine - namely, therapy personalized to an individual's genetic variants. The gene is the most fundamental biological unit of the human body, responsible for generating and regulating proteins that perform the body's functions. Genes and their regulators determine which, when and how many proteins are synthesized in response to a host of signals, which makes genetics a major factor in many diseases. In fact, it is well recognized that more than 50% of one's predisposition to coronary artery disease is genetic. While coronary artery disease (CAD) is still the number-one killer in the Western world, the availability of the DNA sequence of human genes could mean its demise in the 21st century.
- Published on 1 Jan 2007
- Peer Reviewed