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The aim of personalized medicine or individualized treatment is to match the right drug to the right patient and, in some cases, even to design the appropriate treatment for a patient according to his/her genotype. This report describes the latest concepts of development of personalized medicine based on pharmacogenomics, pharmacogenetics,pharmacoproteomics, and metabolomics.

Various technologies are integrated to develop personalized therapies for specific therapeutic areas described in the report. Examples of this are genotyping for drug resistance in HIV infection, personalized therapy of cancer, antipsychotics for schizophrenia, antidepressant therapy, antihypertensive therapy and personalized approach to neurological disorders. Although genotyping is not yet a part of clinically accepted routine, it is expected to have this status by the year 2020.

Several players are involved in the development of personalized therapy. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have taken a leading role in this venture in keeping with their future role as healthcare enterprises rather than mere developers of technologies and manufacturers of medicines.

Ethical issues are involved in the development of personalized medicine mainly in the area of genetic testing. These along with social issues and consideration of race in the development of personalized medicine are discussed. Regulatory issues are discussed mainly with reference to the FDA guidelines on pharmacogenomics.

Increase in efficacy and safety of treatment by individualizing it has benefits in financial terms. Information is presented to show that personalized medicine will be cost-effective in healthcare systems. For the pharmaceutical companies, segmentation of the market may not leave room for conventional blockbusters but smaller and exclusive markets for personalized medicines would be profitable. Marketing opportunities for such a system are described with market estimates from 2016-2026.

Profiles of 324 companies involved in developing technologies for personalized medicines, along with 585 collaborations are included in the part II of the report. Finally the bibliography contains over 750 selected publications cited in the report.The report is supplemented by 84 tables and 39 figures.

For more information about this report visit /research/vjvdtf/personalized

Plunging a metal rod into an inflatable kiddie pool filled with multicoloured plastic balls may not look like the cutting edge of medical research.

But the activity, which was designed to show the challenge of isolating relatively rare stem cells – in this case, a handful of balls with magnetic strips – from a much larger pool of cells, had a serious purpose: to introduce more than 100 students and their teachers from high schools across the Toronto area to regenerative medicine.

High school students learn about the challenge of isolating rare stem cells by plunging metal rods into a pool of plastic balls (photo by Romi Levine)

The display was part of Regenerative Medicine: The Next Frontier, a conference on Nov. 2 co-hosted by University of Toronto's Medicine By Design and University of Toronto Schools. In addition to interactive booths highlighting research from labs at U of T and its affiliated hospitals, the day featured talks on everything from what regenerative medicine is to the complex process of turning discoveries into better treatments for diseases such as heart failure, stroke and diabetes.

Students also heard about the range of jobs available in the field, including in academic research, regulatory affairs, venture capital, cell manufacturing and communications.

The conference included interactive booths highlighting research from labs at U of T and its affiliated hospitals, as well as talks on regenerative medicine (photo by Romi Levine)

Matthew Lynn, a Grade 12 student at Michael Power-St. Joseph High School in Etobicoke who plans to study life sciences at university, said the event opened his eyes to the diverse paths he could take.

“It’s great to know about these new, emerging career opportunities and really take advantage of that,” said Lynn.

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In his 2015 State of the Union, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative — a massive research project designed to gain more insight into how we live with and treat various diseases. Last year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) changed the initiative’s name to the warmer, fuzzier, All of Us, and opened enrollment in hopes of achieving its goal of gaining anonymous health information from one million Americans.

At the moment, the number of involved citizens is far more modest, but the department is kicking things into high gear by purchasing up to 10,000 Fitbit devices for participants. The company is the first wearable maker to get the green light from the NIH for the project, due in part to its compatibility with the two major mobile operating systems and the fact that its devices last several days on a charge — making them more ideal for on-going fitness and sleep tracking.

Participants will get to choose from two of Fitbit’s most popular devices, the Charge 2 and Alta HR. “Lifestyle information is critical to this — sleep, heart rate information, physical activity, those are all essential elements,” Fitbit Health Solutions General Manager Adam Pellegrini told TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. “We will be able to give a real sample of energy levels, how people are sleeping, their walking — those type of things. We’re getting that information as people live their normal lives.”

The everyday aspect is a key to the study — figuring out the ways in which health is impacted outside of a clinical setting. In its current iteration, the study will run about a year with these devices, and that information will inform how wearables will be used in the program moving forward.