Personalised Medicine – how new biology could revolutionise treatment

Advances in biology mean that we can now characterise individuals at the level of their genes (the genome), the proteins in their cells (the proteome) and their metabolites (the metabolome). The science that underpins this molecular “phenotyping” is based on techniques such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabonomics (metabolomics). These methodologies are often rolled together and just called “omics”. Whatever the terminology, the ability to characterise individuals at this level of molecular and biochemical detail offers huge potential for the biomedical sciences.

In particular, we all know (sometimes from personal experience!) that some medicines work for some people, but not for others, and that often the dose needs to be carefully adjusted to ensure efficacy and the absence of side effects. The correct therapy for a patient is often arrived at by a process of careful trial and error. Personalised medicine is all about finding the right drug, for the right patient at the right dose. Knowing an individual patient’s biochemistry in intimate detail via phenotyping them for the appropriate “biomarkers” should enable clinicians to provide bespoke treatments tailored for the individual.

Professor Ian Wilson of Imperial College London and formerly of Astrazeneca (and who visited Bollington SciBar in 2010 to describe the symbiosis of drugs and bugs) will lead our session on Personalised Medicine. What is it, how do we go about it and what are the challenges that such approaches provide to the scientists trying to develop them?

Event starts 6.30 pm at The Vale Inn, Adlington Road, Bollington. Arrive early to get a seat. As always, anyone from Junior School age onwards is very welcome. Anyone with an interest in science is very welcome.


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