The goal of personalized medicine is to
- Apply prevention strategies to those uniquely at risk for disease
- Give therapies that are uniquely suited for a molecular cause of disease
- Avoid therapies that would not be useful and in fact may be harmful to those being treated
I am certain there are other goals, but I think these are the over-riding themes.
In a study in the journal Gastroenterology we see another example of how principle 3 comes into play.
This study examined patients with Hepatitis C. The therapy for Hepatitis C includes Interferon. This medication has long been known to cause depressive symptoms in a subset of patients who take this therapy. The study found that those patients who had a polymorphism in the HTR1A gene (aka serotonin receptor 1A) were almost 3 fold more likely to have interferon induced depression. Imagine combining this with the likelihood for cirrhosis polymorphism I mentioned in April. I can see it coming together, the right drug or not, for the right person, and the right disease.
The only catch is that these results need replication in a larger population.