Health care is on the move, with high costs of drugs the primary target and cancer and related disease are close behind. The trend is called “personalized medicine” and it starts with getting your DNA story told (aka Genome Sequencing). This is a small step with big implications for pharmacy and hospitalization costs.
Personalized medicine is a path to Pharma long term growth as tailoring treatment based on our personal characteristics is the new horizon. Genome Sequencing opens a new world of medicine as our genome profile can correspond to certain disease treatments and therapies with a reducing cost benefit.
Genome sequencing can now be done for around $1,000. Then the question is – what to do with it? Nutritionist, geriatric physicians and internists are three interested users right now. This new tool offers to reduce treatment side effects and cost burdens, improve outcomes and offers the opportunity to prevent and interrupt diseases in their early stage.
One example of applying new tools for better low cost outcomes is the colonoscopy process. It is a cumbersome hospital based procedure that reduces participation and incurs high costs. Now it is moving to an at-home test kit to get early diagnosis of this most common form of cancer among men, prostate cancer. Early testing, easier testing and as a result more men getting testing, means early id of cancer and that means better treatment at lower costs with fewer people dying.
Lung cancer is another highly fatal disease and now after decades of zero advancements, more effective approaches to lung cancer are becoming available now. The newest approach is called Immunol-oncology which offers giant potential by using the body’s own immune system to fight cancers.
Our genome sequencing is going to affect our lives in three categories of study; gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing. A few of the developments in each of these areas:
- 3D printing began with printing genes, now cells are being printed and the future is printing a replica of organs for transplant.
- Gene therapy is a type of treatment that adds removes or improves a patient’s genetic material. Now it is offering cures with super expensive drugs. The cost/benefits is high because they cure chronic fatal disease rather than treating them for long term without a suitable outcome. Muscular dystrophy and sickle cell are two familiar diseases that a cure may be coming sooner than later.
- Cell therapy boosts the immune system. This where they remove, modify, amplify and reuse on the patient their own cells…bone marrow and t-cell transplant are examples now and cell therapy technology is improving rapidly.
- Gene editing has no approved applications yet but has amazing potential. This really a new idea edits the gene by using a molecular scissor and removes the part of someone’s genetic profile with defective cancer or inherited disease characteristics.