How Does Personalized Medicine Work

How Does Personalized Medicine Work?

Personalized medicine is based on the human genome. Every person has a specific genomic blueprint, or make-up. No one is exactly alike. Differences don't just affect our appearance; they affect every one of our 25,000 genes.  In health care, this means that some people might be more likely to develop certain conditions or diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.  Similarly, some individuals may respond to one medication, but not another. 

Personalized medicine has been making headlines with the completion of the Human Genome Project, a 13-year effort by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health that began in 1990.  The genome consists of the entire DNA in an organism. Understanding a person’s DNA database could eventually transform how we diagnose and treat the most complex diseases, including cancer. The more we understand, the better equipped we may be to prevent a disease from occurring or to lessen the severity of a disease by customizing prevention efforts early.