Today medicine is still confronted with enormous drug failure rates: antidepressants, asthma or diabetes drugs between 38 and 43%. Alzheimer and cancer drugs up to 70%.
The practice of medicine is not always an exact science. Physicians consider the patient’s symptoms and decide which tests to perform to collect more information. Human biology is multifaceted and sometimes a patient’s symptoms cannot be clarified. The practice of medicine includes a certain degree of guesswork.
The outcome of the same disease can differ from one patient to another. Most medical treatments have been developed for the “average patient”. But weight, gender, age, lifestyle and environment influence the response to therapies as well as the genes or the microbiome (i.e. the bugs living as symbionts inside the gut) and other individual parameters.
Genetics, gene regulation, the immune system and the microbiome are essential factors that lead not only to an enormous complexity and conditions that respond to different treatments yet share a similar set of symptoms. Without a mechanism to understand the underlying interactions of these factors it might be impossible to anticipate which treatments will be most effective.
Precision Medicine is an approach that considers the diversity of these factors. It is used to discovery new therapies based on new biomarkers as well as to apply targeted therapies focusing more on the individual patient´s condition.