Personalized medicine in India is a young but rapidly advancing field of healthcare that is informed by each person’s unique clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental information. It is about making the treatment as individualized as the disease. It involves identifying genetic, genomic, and clinical information that allows accurate predictions to be made about a person’s susceptibility of developing the disease, the course of the disease, and its response to treatment.
Specific advantages that personalized medicine may offer patients and clinicians include:
Ability to make more informed medical decisions
Higher probability of desired outcomes thanks to better-targeted therapies
Reduced probability of negative side effects
Focus on prevention and prediction of disease rather than reaction to it
Earlier disease intervention than has been possible in the past
Reduced healthcare costs
Advances in Genomics Technology Have Set the Stage for a Revolution in Personal Genomics that will ultimately work towards preventive healthcare, disease burden reduction and Personalized Medicine in India. Positive Bioscience has partnered with Medanta – The Medicity to launch India’s first personal genomics clinic, which offers state-of-the-art facilities and services in preventive healthcare and personalized medicine within the country. This partnership seeks to offer comprehensive personal genomics services to the customers along with advice from leading experts associated with the Medanta – The Medicity under one roof.
Advances in genomics now enable scientists to examine the DNA of each-and-every individual and then predict if the person would be susceptible to a particular disease or whether a particular medicine is suitable for that person in case he falls sick. This is where pharmacogenomics comes into play. Companies have started investing in pharmacogenomics as it offers several advantages such as the elimination of the unpredictable nature of drug development, bring new products to the market and the company could also benefit up to $200-to-$500 million for each drug.
A start-up company called Xcode Lifesciences has come up with the InDNA technology to provide solutions to lifestyle-related diseases such as coronary, diabetes and obesity. A person has to order the test online after which a saliva kit will be shipped to the customer. This saliva kit is completely non-invasive and safe. DNA extracted from the saliva will then be used to determine the allelic information of the individual using high-throughput genotyping techniques.
NutraGene launched the country’s first commercial genetic test for type 2 diabetes. NutraGene’s Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Scan is a DNA testing service that screens DNA variations that have been widely replicated as risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It is based on a buccal (cheek) swab sample and the methodology of targeted mutation screening (genotyping).
Avesthagen is another major player focusing on pharmacogenomics field. One of the major projects of the company is the AVESTAGENOME Project. It is a system biology-based study of the Parsi population to determine the genetic basis of longevity and age-related disorders. This study aims to develop a model for pharmacogenomics-based therapies, development of biomarkers for predictive diagnostics and drug discovery and to enable the archiving of the genome of the community. Avesthagen started this Rs125 crore project in 2007.
Despite the optimism expressed regarding the impact that this field might have on the health of people, many barriers need to be crossed. Researchers, diagnostic firms and regulatory authorities need to establish methodologies by which to judge their effectiveness. Application of genomic and personalized medicine in India needs a change in the regulatory system.