Key Locums are a specialist medical recruitment agency, providing locum and permanent staff to clients nationwide.With a business model built on providing high quality, compliant, and skilled staff, we aim to give our candidates and clients a personable, professional, and focused.

What is Personalised Medicine and Why is it Important?

Posted on 27.08.2019
So much of what we consume these days is bespoke or personalised in some way. You can get personalised skincare, makeup and shampoo – so it makes sense that medicine is now following the trend.
Previously, doctors were more likely to take a “one size fits all” approach to the treatment and care of patients with a particular condition. However, as the NHS says, “We are all unique. Our health is determined by our inherent differences combined with our lifestyles and environment. By combining and analysing information about our genome, with other clinical and diagnostic information, patterns can be identified that can help to determine our individual levels of risk. From, developing diseases and detecting illness earlier it can also determine the most effective interventions to help improve our health; be they medicines, lifestyle choices, or even simple changes in diet.”
Although it fits in with the way the wellness industry seems to be going, it wouldn’t be accurate to claim that personalised medicine is a brand-new concept. Doctors have always made efforts to tailor treatments to individual patients. However, with new approaches like genome sequencing, data and informatics, and wearable technology we can now predict with a greater degree of accuracy than ever before on how a body will react to specific interventions. 
The NHS is optimistic about its implementation: “Through the 100,000 Genomes Project, a ground-breaking and world leading initiative, the NHS is building partnerships with academia and industry to decode the human genome, in people with rare diseases and cancer. This will help to predict the future development of disease, to make a diagnosis where one has not existed previously and to identify treatments where possible.”
Some are a little more sceptical about the implications this could have for medicine and accessibility. There are concerns about inequality taking root in this new technology. As one article puts it, “People of European descent still account for 88% of the genomes in genome-wide association studies, which form a key source of information for genetic reference databases. As a result, the era of genetic engineering and personalised or precision medicine is poised to usher in new health inequalities.”
The future looks hopeful, however, with not-for-profit companies like Future Genetics working to reduce health inequalities in personalised medicine. They visit “community groups in churches, temples, and mosques, using the meetings as an entry point to discuss the societal value of participating in research.” The Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium, is doing something similar by having African scientists perform genetic studies within the continent. 
The potential for personalised medicine is huge but so is the responsibility to make it ethical and accessible to all. As long as the NHS and private medical concerns are committed to inclusivity, it could drastically improve healthcare – and that can only be a good thing.
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