Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Personalized science

The problem of medical care quality is important for a lot of countries all over the world. Despite the increase in the number of technical breakthroughs and in the professionalism among the doctors, there is clearly a lack of the individual approach to patient care. No two patients are the same. Not even the identical twins. Thus it is very natural to personalize a treatment of the patient. Unfortunately, for most of the people it is too expensive to have personal doctor. However, for the wealthiest one there is a possibility to have not only personal doctors, but personal medical scientists that would not only toil on patient’s own problems, but also look for ways to prevent or entirely eradicate certain diseases.

In the article "From Personalized Medicine to Personalized Science: uniting science and medicine for patient-driven, goal-oriented research" Dr. Cantor and Dr. Zhavoronkov described a unique concept of personalized science, which could help the wealthy or skilled patients, but whole scientific community to develop and become better. The idea based on patient-doctors-scientists interactions and on rational usage each sides' talents. Briefly, the patient provides a research grant for universities or doctors-scientists team conducting a research aimed at healing the patient. The patient also supervises the work of the team and this, according to authors, is one of the keys to success. All sides benefit from this interaction: research organizations get funding, scientists and doctors get the material for study, in most cases unique, and the patient get the effective treatment.

However, I can’t help, but point out the advantage of the technique, which authors missed in the paper. Although the application of personalized science may seem to be limited by the miniscule number of wealthy patients that not only truly care about their health, but also want to advance scientific research. As prestige of the scientists is directly correlated with the number of published scientific papers, each such interaction will result in papers, available to the whole scientific community all over the world. Thus, other scientists and medical doctors could use the results in the treatment of their patients and personalized science will not only help one individual, but immensely contribute to the society.

Read article here.

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