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Avera Institute for Human Genetics

3720 W. 69th Street Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Phone: 605-322-3050

What is Personalized Medicine?

Personalized medicine is the process of customizing healthcare or medical treatment specific to the individual's needs. In the past, personalized medicine has been focused around the patient's medical history, family health history, environment, access to care, and health habits and behaviors. Through scientific breakthroughs such as the mapping of the human genome, more opportunities to personalize care have become available. Pharmacogenomics, the study of how an individual's genetic make-up affects how that individual will respond to medications, is one of the most important components of personalized medicine.

Several genes are responsible for differences in drug metabolism and response. People who carry variations in these genes do not metabolize drugs at the same rate or to the same extent as people without the genetic variations, influencing drug response in many ways. Through pharmacogenomics, physicians have a tool to help them make individualized predictions on drug effectiveness, optimal dose, and adverse reactions.

Facts About Pharmacogenomics

  • Pharmacogenomics has been described as the method to get the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time.
  • Pharmacogenomics has the potential to dramatically reduce the estimated annual 100,000 deaths and 2 million hospitalizations in the United States as the result of adverse drug response.
  • Pharmacogenomics has the potential to impact other areas of healthcare, such as medication discovery, medication development, and vaccine improvement.