Not all medicines affect all people in the same way. Therefore, medicine has for years sought to optimize the administration of medicine according to the specific circumstances of each patient. This is what is called pharmacogenomics, which combines pharmacology and genomics, the science responsible for studying genes and their functions, with the aim of developing new medicines. It is about studying the way people respond to drugs individually.
Through this study, more effective and safer doses can be applied, tailored to the variants of a person’s genes. By individualizing the treatments, we arrive at the concept of precision and personalized medicine, where medical care is on the way. In practice, this would mean that, Before administering a drug, the patient’s genetic profile was taken into account, instead of being tested to see if it had the expected effects.
To make a prediction of a particular patient’s possible response to a medicine, personalized medicines analyze together their genomic, clinical, and environmental data. All of this information is intended to prevent potential side effects and improve the effectiveness of treatments. This type of personalized medicine is already used, for example to treat cancer, with tumor-specific information of the affected person to achieve improvements in diagnosis, treatment planning or to see if this is the most effective. In this sense, it is often used in targeted therapies to treat specific cancer cells.
The technology that makes it possible
The incorporation of Big Data into the healthcare sector enables the management and subsequent analysis of enormous amounts of information, which is essential for the development of personalized medicines. Through the application of this technology a strong impetus has been given to the genomics. Sa, Big data can support population studies place each person in groups of different types of risks, such as low, medium, high, etc., regarding specific disturbances. In this sense, according to Urko M. Marigorta, researcher at CIC bioGUNE (@CICbioGUNE), today it is possible to study the genome of a patient “to measure their genetic risk and to select 1.5% or 10% of individuals at risk of suffering from certain pathologies, for 50 euros”.
Quantum computing, a computer model different from that of classical computing that can store much more information and increase the speed of computers, will also facilitate the development of personalized medicine and new medicine. Spain has a Spanish strategy for personalized medicine, registered within the Shock Plan for Science and Innovation, approved by the government in July 2020, and has a budget of 25.8 million euros. This strategy consists of several plans: Genomic Medicine, Digital Health and Data Science plan, one for Advanced and Personalized Therapies, and a Plan for Predictive Medicine, among others.