The usual approach by physicians around the globe to treat their patients has been to recommend medical interventions based on what works best for them on average. As a result, many healthcare systems failed to deliver efficient care and to help significant portions of the patient population. “One Size Does Not Fit All” – Treatments and prevention strategies that help some patients are ineffective for others and the same medicine may cause side effects or adverse reactions in only certain patients. Hence, there has been a shift in the clinical treatment paradigm from a trial-and-error approach to “the right drug, for the right patient, at the right time”.
Percentage of the patient population for which a particular drug in a class is ineffective, on average
In Precision Medicine, physicians use diagnostic tests to determine which medical treatments will work best for individual patients and use medical interventions to alter molecular mechanisms (often genetic) that cause disease or influence a patient’s response to certain treatments. By combining molecular data with a patient’s medical history, circumstances and values, healthcare providers can develop targeted prevention and treatment plans. Following are some of the major key drivers of precision medicine.
Shifting the emphasis in medicine from reaction to prevention
Reducing the frequency and magnitude of adverse drug reactions
Using cell-based or gene therapy to replace or circumvent molecular pathways associated with disease
Increasing patient adherence to treatment
Reducing high-risk invasive testing procedures
The Potential of Personalized Medicine
Advancements in genomics, data analysis, and other related fields – both medical and technical – are gradually enabling the development of laser-focused drugs, as well as providing the ability to predict people’s personal risk factors for any particular diseases and how individuals respond to various treatments methods. After years of speculation, there is now strong evidence that governments around the world have recognized the importance of personalized medicine and are driving initiatives to build the genetic data sets and biobanks that are essential to push the science forward. These initiatives aim to gather health data from millions of volunteers to derive new insights.
The precision medicine market was valued at approximately USD 58 Billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach about USD 98 Billion at a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period . Given the technological advancements and product innovations in the healthcare sector, mid-size to smaller companies are increasing their market presence by introducing new technologies at affordable prices. However, companies like Medtronic PLC, Pfizer Inc., Novartis AG, Qiagen, and Teva Pharmaceuticals hold substantial shares in the market.
Insufficient Technologies – Lack of digital tools to make sense of all the data that comes with the innovative techniques.
Provider Education & Training – Need of awareness and education about molecular genetics and biochemistry among primary care physicians.
Specimen Processing – Lack of standardization to ensure proper specimen handling in making drug recipes and transportation.
Uncertainty of successful clinical trials – Difficulty of providing sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy due to small patient groups.
Confidentiality issues – Difficult to protect participants’ privacy, the confidentiality of their health information, and to develop a rigorous process of informed consent.
High Cost – Huge expense of incorporating new processes into innovative trial designs, manufacturing cell, and gene therapies.
No clear regulatory framework – Huge challenge for the companies to anticipate the regulations related to personalized healthcare including gene and cell therapy.
The Role of Technology
The importance of technological innovations and new-age applications can already be seen in the healthcare industry such as the use of deep learning for drug discovery and AI for timely detection of cancer. Precision medicine also needs a detailed analysis of information from the macro-level, i.e., identifying health trends across populations to an individual genetic level. The emerging technologies can help implement the precision medicine strategies and work efficiently when used in combination. For example, IoT can be used to gather real-time health-related data; AI, to process that data to suggest tailored treatments, and Blockchain to secure patient’s personal information.
Consultant at the Cloud Engineering Studio of Brillio. A Presales and Business Consultant with 3 years of industry experience in delivering value to clients across the globe. Experienced in handling strategic engagements across Pharma, Telecom, and BFSI industry by bringing both business and technology perspectives.