Tailored medicine

Over the next decade or two, we are likely to see a better understanding of what medicines work best for an individual.

So, rather than saying, take this cardiac medicine, or that anti-depressant, because we know – on average across a large patient group likes yours – that they seem to confer a benefit, the doctor will be able to ‘drill-down’ to smaller sub-groups of people more precisely like you and see if a particular medicine works even better.

One of the parameters that will allow this drilling down will be your genes. And here’s an interesting study which shows that depending on your genes, some SSRI anti-depressants can work better than others.

All in all, it means that the somewhat blunt approach of some medicines can be sharpened up a bit and selectively used only when they are far more likely to help.