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19 May 2017

What is personalised medicine?

Garvan explains personalised medicine.

Personalised medicine is the future of health and medicine.  It uses uniquely personal information about an individual, such as genetic information, to help guide health-related decisions.

Q: How will personalised medicine change the way we are diagnosed and treated?

A: When personalised medicine becomes a reality, information from an individual’s genome – their complete set of DNA – will be read, and analysed. This information can be used to diagnose illness, estimate disease risk or to predict how an individual may react to therapies.

Understanding an individual’s risk of developing disease may make it possible to intervene early to monitor, minimise or ideally, prevent disease.  If a person has already been diagnosed with a disease, the information contained in their genome can also help to identify the most effective treatment methods, and to predict how the individual might react to the treatment (i.e. maximising effectiveness, while minimising side-effects).

Q: How is Garvan involved in accelerating personalised medicine?

A: Garvan researchers are already using genome-sequencing technology to conduct medical research, identifying genes and changes to genes that cause or influence some of the major diseases affecting society today. This information is vital to improving our understanding of disease, how it progresses and laying the foundation on which a personalised approach to medicine will be based.