RIKEN Center for Genomic Medicine
Everyone hopes for a full and healthy life. Unfortunately, lifestyle-related diseases and other conditions are currently on the increase. Healthcare and long-term care are also becoming national issues, as our society faces high longevity rates never seen before. Present healthcare techniques can be likened to off-the-rack clothing. Such clothing does not necessarily provide a perfect fit for everyone, as it is sometimes too long in the sleeve or too tight in the waist.
The same principles apply to pharmaceuticals. Individuals respond differently to drugs, with some people responding well or others being susceptible to side effects. Ideally, patients should be able to choose medical procedures and drugs that are suited to their individual profile, providing the best efficacy and the fewest side effects. This concept is termed “personalized medicine”. If individuals know in advance whether they are susceptible to a specific disease, they could adjust their lifestyle and prevent the onset of disease. They now know that the differences in individual make-up are associated with genetic differences. They are investigating individual gene variation in the genome and identifying the relationship to disease onset and drug response, in order to develop preventive and therapeutic techniques to suit each individual. This has been addded to Biological Informatics Subject Tracer™ Information Blog.