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Personalized Medicine: Don’t Settle for Anything Less

I’m a big believer in what’s called personalized medicine, which refers to customizing your health care to your specific needs based on your physiology, genetics, value system, and unique conditions.

David Agus, M.D.

Medicine has undergone many shifts throughout its long-reaching history. While today’s medicine is based on science and research, we’re also reaching a point where a new factor is emerging in treatment decisions: you. Instead of focusing solely on symptoms, studies, and available drugs, today’s practitioners are increasingly focusing their care on the individual to make the best possible treatment decisions for each patient. And, with more tools available than ever before, they’re able to collect new insights into key considerations for each patient, ranging from current biomarkers to the patient’s genetic profile.

At Cenegenics®, we’ve always believed that each patient is unique, and that pursuing optimal health is about far more than simply treating any symptoms that have already manifested. Instead, we put the focus on personalized medicine, taking into consideration each patient’s unique characteristics and giving them the roadmap needed to surpass “normal” health ranges, but actually strive for optimal wellness and prevention against serious diseases. If you’re ready to begin a healthcare journey that puts you at the center, discover more about what personalized medicine entails below.

What Is Personalized Medicine?


Personalized medicine, also known as individualized medicine or precision medicine, takes a patient-oriented approach to healthcare. Its overarching goals are to provide more accurate diagnoses, earlier interventions, and treatment plans which are tailored to the individual patient, all of which can support improved patient outcomes. In other words, it aims to create a more effective, safer, and cost-effective approach to healthcare. 

While conventional medicine has been personalized to some degrees, personalized medicine takes the patient-oriented approach many steps further. Discover how it’s different from traditional care below. 

How Is Personalized Medicine Different from Conventional Medicine?


Traditional medicine employs a “one-size-fits-all” approach when addressing ailments. For the most part, all patients receiving the same diagnosis will receive the same type of treatment. Of course, if a patient has a known allergy or risk factor, their treatment plan may be altered slightly to accommodate it. Yet, until recently, that is the extent to which medicine has been personalized.

Doctors first began noticing a need for truly personalized medicine in the 1950s, when highly variable drug responses were observed in patients as a result of factors like individual biochemistry, genetics, and pharmacology. This led to the development of pharmacogenetics, which seeks to comprehend the molecular factors that contribute to a drug response. [1]

Pharmacogenetics paved the way for personalized medicine, which has recently become far more oriented to the patient’s unique needs. Since pioneers in medicine, like the physicians at Cenegenics®, are leveraging cutting-edge technology, they now have far more insight into the patient’s personal profile than was once possible. Today, doctors can access the patient’s unique profile to develop an individualized treatment strategy.

Cenegenics®, for instance, compiles an in-depth look into patient health by performing an Elite Health Evaluation at the start of each patient’s program. This enables our physicians to access insights such as hormone levels, detailed body composition readings, and other key biomarkers. We also perform extensive blood work. Together, these metrics paint a picture of both current wellness levels and potential risk of chronic illness and diseases, such as:

With this unique understanding of the patient, physicians can diagnose diseases more accurately and improve treatment outcomes by targeting the proper medication or therapy from the beginning, instead of using the “trial and error” approach practiced in conventional medicine. The original evaluation of the patient also gives doctors a blueprint to which they can refer back as needed. For example, collecting samples at regular intervals allows providers to actively monitor the patient’s response to treatment, thereby ensuring expected outcomes are being achieved successfully.

Yet, in addition to biomarkers unveiled through lab work, scans, and other types of testing, there is also an emerging area playing a key role in personalized medicine: genetic testing.

Personalized Medicine Is Also Preventive Medicine 


Not only does individualized medicine lead to more accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans, it also shifts the emphasis from reactive care to prevention. In conventional medicine, patients see their doctors when symptoms begin to arise. The doctor then performs tests to confirm a diagnosis and treats it according to accepted medical standards. In personalized medicine, the patient’s profile can be assessed before an issue even arises. One method for achieving a deeper look into the patient profile is genetic testing.

Since the human genome was first mapped in 2003, personalized medicine has accelerated. [2] There are a number of ways genetics are playing in to both preventive care and treatment for existing ailments. For instance, DNA testing can be performed to determine whether your genetic profile will influence how your medication works.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s right study, the overwhelming majority of patients – 99% - have some type of genetic variant which influences how their body processes common medications. This form of testing can therefore direct physicians to make the best choices for their patients based on hard, personalized data. [3]

One form of DNA testing, known as whole exome testing, can also help to diagnose and treat rare diseases. Also known as next-generation sequencing, this technique sequences all 22,000 genes that make up an individual’s DNA profile in a single shot.

While this method has been unavailable to the public until very recently, now select populations, such as Cenegenics® patients, have access to the groundbreaking results that can be discovered through the testing. Whole exome testing can also uncover specific genetic mutations which may be used to guide recommendations on diet and exercise, as well as specific medications.

Personalized Medicine Is Already Being Used


Personalized medicine is making strides in improving patient care across many conditions and initiatives. Here are just a few examples of how we’re already using patient profiles to advance medicine:

  • Improving Breast Cancer Treatment: One example of how personalized medicine has been helping specific patient populations is the emergence of trastuzumab. Nearly one-third of patients who have breast cancer carry a form of DNA which over-expresses a protein called HER2. While HER2 doesn’t respond to traditional therapies, this important DNA finding allowed researchers to develop trastuzumab, a treatment which reduces recurrence of HER2 tumors by 52% when used with chemotherapy. [4]
  • Enhancing Medicine Selection: In the U.S., thousands of deaths are caused by adverse reactions to medications, and more than two million people are hospitalized each year. New drugs must undergo rigorous testing to enter the market, but until recently, it’s been impossible to tell how individuals with specific gene variations would react to drug ingredients. Through personalized medicine, we can better pinpoint who will be most likely to have a bad reaction before they even take a medication, along with who will witness the best results. [5]

Personalized Medicine: The Benefits


couple hiking, man holding map and both smiling into camera

Clearly, personalized medicine is making significant advancements in terms of making drugs safer, shifting the focus from reactive to preventive care, and enabling the selection of optimal therapies. Yet, this also transcends to cost savings for both the individual and the healthcare industry as a whole. It can also lead to increased patient compliance, since patients will have the peace of mind in knowing their medication or treatment is hand-selected to fit their unique needs. Plus, with a greater knowledgebase of all participants, the teams running clinical trials may be able to reduce the time and cost of their studies to help get medications to market faster.

Personalized Medicine is Our Expertise - In Conclusion


The peace of mind that comes from receiving personalized medicine is invaluable. Whether it’s understanding your risk of a serious disease so you can focus on the preventive measures within your control or receiving personalized nutraceuticals to help combat specific symptoms based on a clinical need shown in your lab work, the Cenegenics® team is here to return the focus to you, the patient.

Included in Cenegenics’® cost is the Elite Health Evaluation, along with ongoing care from our attentive physicians, nutritional experts, and fitness professionals. We’ll help you develop an approach to wellness that goes beyond simply addressing any symptoms you may be experiencing, but actually takes an individualized, preventive approach to promote optimized health at every age.

Don’t just take our word for it – see what our satisfied patients have to say on our Cenegenics® reviews page. And, when you’re ready to begin exploring the benefits of personalized age-management medicine firsthand, contact your nearest Cenegenics® location for a consultation.

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About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Personalized Medicine. Vogenberg, F. Randy, Barash, Carol Isaacson, and Pursel, Michael. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957753/

[2] See above. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957753/

[3] 4 Ways individualized medicine can be applied immediately to patient care. Buckles, Susan.  Derived from: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/4-ways-individualized-medicine-can-be-applied-immediately-to-patient-care/

[4] The Age of Personalized Medicine: What is Personalized Medicine? Personalized Medicine Coalition. Derived from: http://www.personalizedmedicinecoalition.org/Userfiles/PMC-Corporate/file/pmc_age_of_pmc_factsheet.pdf

[5] See above. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957753/

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