I am encouraged to hear that the FDA is playing a critical role in the advancement of what is now known as “personalized medicine,” as is evidenced by Commissioner Hamburg’s recent blog post and the FDA’s report entitled “Paving the Way for Personalized Medicine: FDA’s Role in a New Era of Medical Product Development.” Personalized medicine, where treatment is tailored to the needs of an individual patient rather than to an uncertain mean. Personalized medicine is the future of of medicine.
Strangely enough, medicine used to be more personalized than it is now. Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, for instance, are highly personalized systems of medicine. One of the major differences between these early systems and the new era of personalized medicine is that the former systems focused on the energetic individuality of the patients whereas the scientific lens of our day is trained upon biochemical and genetic differences.
Naturopaths and integrative medical doctors have long embraced the virtues of a more personalized approach to treating patients. While many of them do not delve into genomics, most of them take a more holistic approach when crafting a treatment protocol. Such doctors consider lifestyle factors and employ various diagnostic devices and methodologies to give the patient the best possible chance of establishing a new level of health.
I hope that this new approach to medical care results in a shift in emphasis, wherein the doctor-patient relationship is revitalized and the general mood about health care is uplifted. More specifically, I hope that doctors can focus once again on treating the patient rather than the disease.