Exclusive: Does India need a Precision Medicine Initiative?

Precision Medicine in the country is considered to be at an early adoption stage. The need and its potential in the Indian Healthcare scenario is high, considering that the system is under great pressure due to sheer numbers

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Through Mr Obama's PMI, patients will enjoy individualized and tailor-made treatments for various ailments

During his State of the Union address in January 2015 at the White House in Washington DC, American President Mr Barack Obama announced the launch of the most ambitious Healthcare initiative called the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), a mission to usher the US into a new era of medicine where patients will enjoy individualized and tailor-made treatments for various ailments.

Mr Obama said, "Doctors have always recognized that every patient is unique, and doctors have always tried to tailor their treatments as best they can to individuals. You can match a blood transfusion to a blood type - that was an important discovery. What if matching a cancer cure to our genetic code was just as easy, just as standard? What if figuring out the right dose of medicine was as simple as taking our temperature?"

Too Early For India?

Precision medicine is an emerging approach of medicine which looks at the root cause of an illness, rather than addressing the symptoms alone. Precision medicine may not be very well known as Personalized Medicine. But they are one and the same. It takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. The need and its potential in the Indian Healthcare scenario is high, considering that the system is under great pressure due to sheer numbers.

Precision Medicine in the country is considered to be at an early adoption stage. A diverse country like India, with over 4000 population groups, and a significant percentage of consanguineous marriages presents a high-risk and prevalence of inherited genetic disorders that require attention for early diagnosis, right treatment, and management. India has a heavy burden of inherited diseases driven by the unique genetic characteristics in the population. With 1.4 billion people, the absolute number of patients suffering from diseases in which genetics play a role is significantly large.

 

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