Biomarker based tests (to predict how well a patient will respond to treatment or to define the optimal dose of drugs for a specific patient) may herald personalized medicine. But also health IT applications can enable personalized medicine.
Examples of IT applications that can benefit cancer patients:
- Mobile health applications allow people to monitor their own status and symptoms, and send results electronically to health care providers.
- Social networking sites represent another way to share information among chronic condition sufferers and/or health care providers.
- Think about advancing the integration of all this epigenetic information with –omics data: The genome dynamically responds to the environment. Stress, diet, behavior, toxins and other factors activate chemical switches that regulate gene expression.
While the first step toward enabling personalized medicine is ensuring clinicians have access to what is known about patient gene variants, computer models can go beyond this approach to predict what treatments are likely to be most effective given observed symptoms. Rapid learning and predictive modeling will become important to gain the full benefits of personalized medicine.