The ultimate aim of precision medicine is to treat a patient with a drug that perfectly fits their disease and genetic make-up. It is intended to target the disease or tumor, acting on that part of the body alone and causing minimal side effects. It’s a wonderful concept and we are beginning to see this become a reality with important advances in immuno-oncology, gene therapy and other incredible, life-changing treatments. What tends to be left out of this picture, however, is that before the drug or therapy is prescribed, the patient has to be tested to determine a number of things. This is why diagnostics play such an important role in the patient journey. Let’s look at three reasons why they matter so much:
Diagnostics are already part of everyday life. Fertility and pregnancy tests, blood glucose meters for diabetes, blood pressure monitors and over the counter cholesterol and colorectal cancer tests are all types of diagnostics. In precision medicine, however, companion diagnostics are mainly associated with deciding on appropriate treatment with existing therapies or ones in the pipeline. In fact, companion diagnostics are now regularly developed alongside new cancer drugs so they can be launched at the same time. Additionally, there is plenty of research and development underway in general medicine to make companion diagnostics available for drugs tackling Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, to name just a few. So the use of companion diagnostics is destined to increase and benefit many more of us in the future.
The importance of companion diagnostics can’t be underestimated and it is why Diaceutics helps pharma companies around the world integrate testing into the development, launch and commercialization of their therapies. Making sure no patient ever misses out on the right treatment is the aim of everyone working in this exciting field of companion diagnostics and precision medicine.