Article Type: Original Article
Abstract:

Throughout the past fifty years the study of inherited diseases has come of age. From purely cataloguing rare, Mendelian phenotypes, genetics and in fine medicine is now ready to tackle the genetics of complex diseases afflicting this time a considerable fraction of the population. These include cardiovascular, metabolic, neuropsychiatric as well as several infectious diseases. This intrusion of genetics in “everyday life” will have beside obvious scientific benefits, profound health, healthcare, societal, biotech and business implications which collectively will define a major medical revolution epitomized by the advent of individualized medicine (IM). In a few words IM could be defined as a process whereby each patient shall be diagnosed, monitored and eventually treated not only based on disease identification but the individual’s proper manifestations chiefly dependant on the patient’s genetic constituency. This could in fine be also extended to “healthy” individuals, giving them a path to a better, more adapted, lifestyle. IM has therefore major implications for therapeutic intervention, mainly drug therapy - where the active drug will be tailored to patient’s individual needs hence avoiding (sometimes dramatic) side effects not to mention needless medical expenses. This is not a fictional picture of the future as the fundamentals of this new medical revolution are already at hand and being implemented in various parts of the world and it is an understatement to say that within a period of less than one decade few diseases and therapies will “escape” the trend e.g. most drugs will be marketed based on the patient’s genetic profile. During the presentation a few achievements of IM with regards to immune diseases will be highlighted.

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