Precision medicine is putting the patient at the centre of healthcare. But what does precision medicine actually mean? And if you’re interested in using it in your research, where do you start? We’ve created a guide to help, explained here by Professor Stephen Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology, who led the work.
Put simply, precision medicine aims to ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time.
Our genetics, together with our lifestyles and our environment, determine our health. Precision medicine is an exciting approach that will help to determine our individual risk of developing disease, detect illness earlier and determine the most effective interventions to help improve our health, whether they are medicines, lifestyle choices, or changes in diet.
Jane Dunnage was forced to give up work due to the rare autoimmune condition systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE or lupus. After 10 years of being a Trustee for the charity LUPUS UK she now leads patient involvement for the MRC-funded MASTERPLANS* study. She explains why research needs the patient voice.
Jane Dunnage (Image credit: Derya Boyraz)
I had to give up my job in communications about 20 years ago because of the symptoms of lupus. It was affecting my eyes and my joints, and the fatigue was extremely disabling. I found it impossible to carry on working.
But it was another four or five years before I was actually diagnosed. I became a ‘pass the parcel’ around different consultants and departments for a year. Then somebody at long last recognised the link between the wide-ranging symptoms and said, “I think you have lupus”.
Dr Shamith Samarajiwa’s computational biology group is the newest team at the MRC Cancer Unit. His group develops multi-disciplinary data science, data engineering and computational biology solutions to understand the complex biological systems involved in carcinogenesis.
Dr Shamith Samarajiwa (Copyright: Johannes Hjorth)
Career in brief
This is an exciting time to be dealing with biomedical data. In a world poised and waiting for personalised medicine, computational biology will help us to detect cancer sooner by realising the potential of big datasets. There are millions of datasets already out there but these are completely underutilised. Read more