- By Susan Buckles
4 tips for patients seeking individualized medicine
ROCHESTER, Minn. — The promise of precision medicine is becoming a reality as more doctors bring individualized therapies to the bedside. You or a family member could benefit if you suffer from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, a rare undiagnosed disease or a genetics-based condition. Individualized medicine, also known as precision or personalized medicine, is the concept that prediction, diagnosis, treatment and, eventually, prevention, can be targeted to your individual needs based on genetic profile, environment and lifestyle.
But how do you seek these novel individualized therapies? It often starts with a conversation with your doctor. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, a catalyst in moving personalized medicine therapies from the laboratory to clinical care, offers these tips on how to talk to your doctor about individualized medicine therapies:
- Ask whether applying genetic testing might improve ways of predicting, diagnosing and treating your condition.
- If you are having trouble with medications, ask your doctor if a type of DNA testing known as pharmacogenomics testing could identify treatments that are safer and work better with your genetic makeup.
- For cancer patients, ask if having your DNA sequenced would provide doctors molecular information to improve treatment plans.
- Ask if the DNA testing results can be integrated into your electronic health record, so all medical providers can access this data and coordinate your care.
“Precision medicine is already integrated into clinical care. It is important for patients to learn about options, so they can understand whether they are the right candidate for these target therapies,” says Keith Stewart, M.B., Ch.B., the Carlson and Nelson Endowed Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine. “They should approach their physicians, seeking an honest and open discussion about benefits and possible challenges to integrating these new therapies into their treatment plans.”
Those who should talk to their doctors about individualized medicine therapies include:
- Cancer patients whose tumors are not responding to their treatment plans may want to ask their physician about genetic testing to identify individualized therapies.
- People with a mysterious illness or rare disorder who have been visiting many doctors and clinics for years without getting a diagnosis might want to have DNA testing that could identify a genetic disorder.
- Couples who are planning a family and want to understand their genetic risk should seek DNA testing.
- Patients who have difficulties with medications that don’t work or are causing side effects might benefit from DNA testing.*
*Note that this is not a comprehensive list of all patients who might benefit from individualized medicine.
MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Buckles, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, firstname.lastname@example.org
Individualized medicine and how it can benefit patients are the key topics of Individualizing Medicine 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics. This two-day conference at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester is bringing together leaders in the field of medicine from around the world. More than 800 medical providers, researchers and biotechnology innovators are attending.
Dr. A. Keith Stewart is the Carlson Nelson Endowed Director Center for Individualized Medicine Anna Maria and Vasek Polak Professor of Cancer Research Division of Hematology-Oncology Mayo Clinic.
The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is hosting the Individualizing Medicine conference with support from the Satter Foundation.
About Center for Individualized Medicine
The Center for Individualized Medicine discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. For more information, visit http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine/.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.