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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Reconsidering the Future of Precision Medicine

Over the last 20 years, precision medicine has become a prominent theme in clinical and pharmaceutical research, aiming to target therapies more effectively to improve health and reduce pressure on healthcare services. So far, genetic tests have played a significant role in the advancement of precision medicine. Yet, in many cases, genomics provides limited insight into patient biology, while emerging tools could provide the detailed information that is needed to fully realise the potential of this approach.

The Potential of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine requires two things: a test that can inform decisions by providing information about a patient’s biology, and treatments that are relevant to specific patient phenotypes. The potential of precision medicine lies not just in developing new therapies, but also improving the use of existing medications to minimise the time and cost wasted on ineffective treatments. In many cases, clinicians are currently forced to rely on trial and error to determine treatments. One example of this is in asthma, where inhaled corticosteroids are effective for some patients but fail for many others (1). Similar experiences are common in mental health and for neurological conditions where trial and error can be particularly lengthy due to side effects and risks related to drug dependency. A trial and error approach is not only costly and inefficient, but impacts patient health due to the time needed to achieve adequate symptom control.

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Dr Jonathan Lawson is the Head of Content at Owlstone Medical. In his role, Jonathan leads on the creation of multimedia content to raise awareness of the potential for breath testing in both early detection and precision medicine across a range of diseases. He holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge and has previously worked at Cancer Research UK and the Babraham Institute. Jonathan joined Owlstone Medical in 2019 and enjoys the range of scientific topics that he gets to talk about.
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