Introduction: Tell us a bit about yourself and your association with precision medicine?
I am a consultant for private and public hospitals in the field of regenerative and precision medicine and blood management and have performed more than 5000 various procedures using PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma) and stem cells in orthopedics, wound care, aesthetics, neurology, and open-heart surgery. At our BioCell hospital, my team and I work on implementing novel cell-based therapies and new techniques for treating different pathologies in our everyday practice.
In what fields is Precision Medicine currently being applied and how is it influencing patients’ quality of life?
Traditional treatments for many chronic diseases require long, invasive and, very often, damaging procedures and interventions that seriously reduce a patient’s quality of life, whereas precision medicine tries to ensure less invasive and more effective treatments, which aim to not only improve longevity, but also the quality of everyday life of our patients.
With its efficient and more sustainable approach, what influence will Precision Medicine have on healthcare, society, or even the environment?
A good example of precision medicine’s effect on the environment would be the way it could be used to overcome drug resistance. Using precision medicine methods, we can prove that a certain antibiotic is only effective to a certain small amount of people to treat a certain specific infection, but is at the same time ineffective for a very large amount of people. Thanks to this information and knowledge we can reduce the use of that antibiotic, which will not only be beneficial to the patients, but will also prevent resistance, over-use of the drug, and thus be more be favorable to the environment, as well as more financially sustainable.
Precision medicine can help decrease the mortality rate attributed to cancer. Is it also effective for other diseases or afflictions?
Precision medicine targets genes and small proteins derived from those genes which play a key role in the pathophysiology and development of cancer and many other chronic diseases. By discovering and targeting those specific molecules, precision medicine can alter the pathophysiology and course of many chronic illnesses. Apart from the molecular level, it is well known that many neurological, cardiovascular and other diseases are the results of environmental and social factors, which precision medicine takes into consideration when developing treatment and prevention programs.
What role do you see artificial intelligence (AI) playing in precision medicine?
Precision medicine is data driven and data dependent, requiring huge amounts of data. For the biomedical analysis of those large datasets as well as for drawing conclusions, AI is imperative. To put it simply, the interaction between biomedicine, precision medicine and artificial intelligence is no longer just a proposition, it is becoming more and more of a rule to improve personalized health care.
What are the challenges faced when adopting precision medicine treatments and therapies?
The challenges of precision medicine today are its inaccessibility, high cost, technological challenges, and the lack of evidence and studies to prove its effectiveness. Moreover, the lack of legal regulations in the fields of precision medicine, cell and gene therapy is a setback. The development of new therapeutical methods is currently mostly based on medications, and thus regulations, protocols, governmental approval and funding is highly needed for precision medicine to further grow and expand. There is a major ethical dimension in precision medicine when it comes to protection and sharing of information, and privacy and ethical choices regarding prioritization of patients or allocation of funding for specific research.
What does the future hold for precision medicine?
Precision medicine is changing the paradigm of traditional medicine. Given its synergy with artificial intelligence (AI), the possibilities for both medical professionals and patients are now higher, which ultimately will lead to better diagnostic and treatment prospects in the future. With the use of precision medicine techniques, molecular diagnosis and gene therapy we can detect and treat some genetic conditions early on, which in the future will lead to a significant incidence drop of those conditions and disease in the population.