Personalized medicine research and applications growing globally.

Personalized medicine is a medical procedure that separates patients into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. The terms personalized medicine, precision medicine, stratified medicine and P4 medicine are used interchangeably to describe this concept though some authors and organisations use these expressions separately to indicate particular nuances.

Personalized medicine may represent a dramatic change of paradigm in the medium-term future. For a chemist, personalized medicine means the definition and understanding of any disease on molecular level for each individual or group of individuals (personalized diagnosis) ideally leading to the design of a drug that efficiently counteracts or prevents any molecular dysfunction, ie, a personalized drug without side effects.

This view has obvious economic, ethical, and social implications, beyond scientific challenges. All stakeholders will have to take them into account. Policy makers will have to examine all disciplines of regulatory science among which the thorny economics (cost-benefit analysis of specific research and development projects) are of paramount importance and critical to the development of personalized medicine.

Many of our most common medicines are not effective in treating large numbers of the patients they are supposed to help and more than six percent of acute hospital admissions are caused by serious adverse reactions to medicines.

In the future, precision medicine will enable every clinician to tailor treatment and even prevention strategies to an individual’s unique characteristics. In order to reach this goal, we need to collect and analyze many different types of data, from many different sources, including symptoms, genomics, and brain circuitry, as well as family dynamics, environmental exposures, and cultural background.

The interdisciplinary research required for personalized medicine should overcome a myriad of obstacles not the least being to find specific biomarkers and targets for each individual or group of individuals suffering from a given disease. Chemists enter then into action and will model/design drugs and drug delivery pathways for a personalized therapy. They will either tap into the numerous drugs candidates, which were abandoned at some stage of clinical trials, or synthesize new drugs, mainly those “small molecules” mimicking the activity of natural products.

Personalised medicine is a fast-growing market and healthcare industry has the potential to build on its leading position, providing economic growth and jobs.

Medicinal chemistry comprises several scientific disciplines: organic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, physical organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, engineering, genetics, etc. Nowadays, this complex approach is significantly developing and allows gaining a novel level – personalized medicine. It means: choice of a drug and its use regime should fit every individual specifically, so efficacy of medicinal treatment would improve significantly.

Such a progress is possible thanks to a novel approach in many branches, eg, nowadays polypharmacology is developing fast. It means that pleiotropic properties of compounds, which were treated negatively for a long time, considered in many cases as side effects, are reconsidered gradually as desirable bioactivities. Therefore, exclusively selective compounds that have been a quest for decades are not any more considered as golden standards. On the contrary, many well known, powerful, and successful drugs turned out to be “dirty.” They are beneficial since due to their pleiotropic properties they regulate several signaling pathways, which was not realized when they were introduced as drugs with a single activity principle.

Credit : National Institute of Health

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