Medicine: A Team Sport


You know how your mom makes your burger just the way you like it and can read your body language? Most moms don't treat her children the same since they're each unique. Well, medicine is working to do just that.

Not replace your mother, but like her, take all the data that science can now make available about you and help doctors create a unique treatment based on your genetic makeup. This is participatory medicine which is also called P4 comprising the four Ps: predictive, preventive, participatory, and personalized. It makes sense when you see the trend.

For just a thousand dollars, you can get a map of your genome and eventually people could also know their unique microbiome. That's the myriad of microbes that live in and on you that keep you healthy.

P4 is envisioned as a team sport involving the patient, specialized social networks, the entire care team and researchers. To make it work, everyone has access to the patient's data and participate in decision making. Eventually, the key is to compile the complete genomic sequence of every patient to create a huge data set.

It might be a turnoff for some people, but there's great promise in this approach. The data sets could be analyzed and compared to reveal causes of disease, determine optimal treatments, and identify preventive measures.

The approach is already used with some cancer patients whose cancer's genomes are compared with normal ones in the data set to find which genes are mutated. Once established, this type of large data set analysis could transition us from a treatment approach to a wellness or preventive approach to health.

More Information

P4 Medicine Could Transform Healthcare, but Payers and Physicians Are Not Yet Convinced
Biotechnol Healthc. 2010 Fall; 7(3): 7'8.

P4 Medicine institute (P4Mi)
"The P4 Medicine institute (P4Mi) is driving innovative approaches to disease prevention and maintenance of HEALTH AND WELLNESS by applying SYSTEMS BIOLOGY to medicine and care delivery."

P4 Medicine: A new approach to health and disease
Expert analysis from the annual meeting on women's cancer