If you’ve heard the term personalised medicine, you may be wondering just what it is, and where does it fit in the treatment regime?

Tailored medical treatment

Personalised medicine, also known as precision medicine, is medical treatment that takes into consideration the specific differences in the patient’s genes, environment, and lifestyle. The goal is to tailor the medical treatment to the specific characteristics of each patient, allowing for more accurate and effective treatment of the individual.

Using genomic diagnostic testing the person’s unique genetic makeup is studied, including variations in their DNA sequences. Advances in genomic technology have enabled the identification of genetic markers (biomarkers) associated with certain diseases, as well as the development of targeted therapies based on an individual’s genetic profile. This individual genetic profile can be used to assess a person’s health or the progression of disease, to predict how your cancer will grow and determine which treatments might work best against it. This is often referred to as DNA sequencing.

Genetic profiling for targeted treatment

Personalised medicine uses the information gathered via genomic testing (DNA sequencing) to determine an individual’s specific biomarkers to develop targeted therapies rather than a one-size-fits all approach. These targeted therapies are designed to be more effective with fewer side effects and specifically target the underlying mechanisms of the disease in the individual patient. Personalised medicine aims to create treatment plans that are tailored to the unique characteristics of each patient by selecting medications, dosages and treatment strategies based on the patient’s genetic and molecular profile.

In the UK research has found widespread genetic variations that were common across some of the most deadly cancers and have paved the way to personalised, targeted treatment. The success of genomic medicine in clinical cancer care in the UK has Australian scientists calling for the country to fast-track the implementation of genomic medicine into clinical care here is Australia.

Australian scientists are calling for the country to fast-track the implementation of genomic medicine into clinical care here is Australia

Personalised medicine in Australia

Although Australia undertakes world-class research in cancer and genomics, we are lagging behind other countries like England, Netherlands, USA and Japan in implementing personalised cancer care using genomics.

We look forward to seeing Personalised Medicine and Targeted Treatments being implemented in Australia in the very near future. 

Author: Madelyn Duckmanton

Madelyn is the Chair of the Letitia Linke research foundation. After losing her daughter, Letitia Linke, to Ovarian Cancer, she has continued Letitia’s work to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer and generate funds to support research into an early detection test.