January 31, 2010

The Possibilities of Personalized Medicine

What if your doctor could tell by reading your genetic code which drugs were most likely to work for you, and which you should avoid, even before you try them?

What if a “genetic biopsy” taken from your cancer could pinpoint the treatment most likely to kill the tumor, and with the fewest side effects?

What if your “genetic medical record” flagged previously undetected risk factors for illnesses you could take steps to prevent?

These are some of the tantalizing prospects in the burgeoning field known as personalized medicine that are being pioneered by scientists and health care providers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.