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Dr. Gulshan S. Harjee works at the Student Health Center and believes in patient-centered care. Photo by Justin Fredericksen, The Collegian.
Dr. Gulshan S. Harjee works at the Student Health Center and believes in patient-centered care. Photo by Justin Fredericksen, The Collegian.

Drugs, just for you

Dr. Gulshan S. Harjee works at the Student Health Center and believes in patient-centered care. Photo by Justin Fredericksen, The Collegian.
Dr. Gulshan S. Harjee works at the Student Health Center and believes in patient-centered care. Photo by Justin Fredericksen, The Collegian.

Obama addresses precision medicine that cures individual conditions

By: Justin Fredericksen

During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he briefly introduced the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). According to White House authorities, this plan will “revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease.”

For years the medical field has used a model of “blanket medicine.”

Doctors prescribe treatments according to the ailment, not the specific patient. Doctors have struggled with managing the effects that certain drugs have on the individual.

“Precision medicines are those directed toward a precise defect in the primary cause of a disease,” said David Kroll, a biomedical educator and natural products cancer pharmacologist.

In order to begin this revolutionary brand of medicine, the government will need a database of molecular and DNA information to work from.

Doctors will have your specific information stored and will be able to reference that information in using a treatment designed specifically for the individual.

Imagine a world where people can go to the doctor, and instead of being prescribed a medicine that works for three out of five patients, they are prescribed medicines that work specifically with their genetic makeup.

This notion has the potential to minimize guesswork and treat disease efficiently. For any person who has suffered the side-effects of medicine and felt the treatment was not worth dealing with the effects, PMI has the potential to eliminate the guesswork.

PMI not only incorporates the use of personal genetic information but the storage of it in some government database.

“PMI will leverage advances in genomics, emerging methods for managing and analyzing large data sets while protecting privacy, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries,” said a White House press release.

Privacy is a concern that many people face in the advancing technological age.

Although this revolutionary medical initiative has the potential to alter the way modern medicine treats the individual, questions are raised on the security of storing information.

Biology major Donata Bursos said, “Precision Medicine is logical, and a good idea.”

Nonetheless, she worries about protecting genetic information. These are real concerns that every individual must take into account.

Although PMI could benefit Americans, these are honest questions that should be addressed.

There needs to be a trust that the people of America can rely on the government to honestly use this information for the betterment of its citizens and no other purpose.

“It’s only okay if you give permission to store the information,” said health science major Miranda Matani.

Matani like many people would want reassurance that genetic information will stay private.

These are exciting times for the medical field which will yield new technologies that could forever change the way we deal with diseases and prevention.

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