The precision medicine industry combines molecular biology with systems biology to find ways to prevent and treat diseases. It allows doctors to select treatments based on a genetic understanding of a patient’s disease along with variations in environment and lifestyle to treat them on an individualized basis. It utilizes big data technology to enable more precise and customized treatment by using large data sets to find correlations. This minimizes the effects of an overly broad treatment approach which could have unintended side effects and saves doctors on costs of treatment. It is particularly important for finding treatments for neurological diseases which are expected to increase with increases in life expectancy and population growth. It is also important to help understand and better treat cancer on an individual level. Here are ten trends in the precision medicine industry to look for in 2021:
Precision medicine will likely continue to be focused on finding different treatments for oncological diseases. It is used as a treatment for oncological diseases 30% more often compared to the next highest application of precision medicine. Europe and the U.S. are the major centers where oncological applications of precision medicine are occurring, and research is being performed. The support from state funding is expected to accelerate the growth of the precision medicine market in treatment of oncological diseases.
2. Non-Oncology Therapeutic Research Will Increase
As genomic research has increased, there are signals that the focus of precision medicine may shift beyond just oncology and towards non-oncology areas. According to Diaceutics Group, two thirds of phase three pipelines are focused on non-oncology areas. This provides strong motivation for precision medicine researchers to find applications outside of oncology areas. Examples of areas where such applications may be found are in infectious diseases, central nervous system diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which have strong genetic correlations, have been posited as possible candidates for further research in the precision medicine industry.
3. The U.S. Will Continue to Lead the Precision Medicine Market
Despite setbacks in medical research due to an increased emphasis on COVID-19, the U.S. is still the leader in the precision medicine industry, a trend that will continue in the coming years. In 2015, the U.S. created the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) which aims to bring the concept of precision medicine into mainstream medicine to create customized treatment options. The PMI has teamed up with Department of Veteran’s affairs and the FDA to build research and data capacity and policies to increase the use of precision medicine in treatment of diseases. This puts the U.S. in a leading position in the precision medicine industry and U.S. may pilot treatments that could be adopted around the world.
4. The Market for Precision Medicine Will Remain Competitive
Currently, the market for precision medicine is neither perfectly competitive, with many major firms competing nor is it monopolistic, dominated by one or a few major companies. There are several major companies such as Pfizer and Novartis along with mid-size and smaller companies who are entering the market and introducing new technologies. This is good for the dissemination of advances in precision medicine as a competitive environment is more likely to yield lower cost solutions without the need for regulatory intervention.
5. Financial and Time Costs Will be Further Reduced
Scientific and Technological advances regarding the study of genes has decreased the costs and time associated with the implementation of precision medicine practices. In the past few years, the costs of tests are shifting the landscape away from research applications to clinical applications. This has allowed the medical community to gather a larger sample of data that will help to accelerate research in precision medicine. Companies that work with big data such as IBM are gaining more information on how genetic and chronic diseases function. This will help find further applications of precision medicine in the clinical field.
The compilation of more genomic data integrate with traditional data will quicken the pace of machine learning in precision medicine. The medical community can expect genomic data availability to increase in the coming years, which will lead to further dissemination of precision medicine practices around the world.
6. Precision Medicine Will Change Public’s View on Healthcare Data
Precision medicine and more broadly, digital healthcare options are increasing data availability and access which has led to changes in public opinions. There is evidence that the public is becoming more receptive to personalized health and lifestyle data signaled by the popularity of fitness tracking devices and watches. People want more of a say in the healthcare decision making process, and the advances in the precision medicine field are allowing consumers the chance to give their input. The growing emphasis on consumer-based practices combined with precision medicine advances are providing increased transparency and more clarity about the costs of care of treatment. This contrasts with the previously utilized one-size-fits-all approach.
7. More Automated Support for Providers
Tools that enhance decision making regarding precision medicine will help clinical practitioners decide what tests are necessary and how to apply genetic data to the results. Precision medicine will also prevent denial and delays for healthcare consumers. This will also influence the type of tests that will be ordered in the next five years. Increases in large panel tests can be expected over the next five years to look at a region of gene as opposed to current tests that only look at a narrow range of genes.
8. Better Choice of Antibiotics
Currently doctors make educated guesses about which antibiotic to prescribe when a patient is sick, which can be life threatening in certain situations like sepsis. Instead of waiting days to tests for bacteria in a lab while the patient starts their antibiotic regimen, using precision medicine doctors can take blood samples and sequence the bacteria to pinpoint which one is making them sick. This would save on time and will become more common in the coming years.
9. Growth of Pharmacogenomics as a Research Focus
Weighing factors such as genetics, lifestyle and medical history, doctors will be able to prescribe medications that are targeted to treat the patient with the least side effects. Currently, doctors must make inferences when it comes to switching medications and adjusting dosage. Pharmacogenomics, the research of the response of genes to drugs, is growing will expand with the growth of precision medicine. Thousands of patients in the U.S. are participating in pharmacogenomic trials, which will hopefully give doctors the ability to observe how quickly the body breaks down drugs, and how likely certain side effects are likely to be present.
10. Better Diagnoses
In the field of oncology, precision medicine is being used to test whether breast cancer patients have receptors fore estrogen or progesterone. Precision medicine research is currently working on a blood tests that would be able to find cancer anywhere in the body by sequencing blood and locating tumor DNA. Doctors will also have a better picture of whether the patient is responding to treatment or just in remission. The medical community can expect more precision medicine drugs to be approved by the FDA that will be able to identify the presence of cancer based on genetic changes.
10 Important Statistics to Know
Here are ten statistics to know about precision medicine and future trends:
- 50 % of providers select a more clinically appropriate tests than the one first ordered if they receive genetic decision support before ordering the tests. This demonstrates the positive effect of precision medicine on selection of appropriate tests.
- Reactions to side effects caused by inaccurate medicine accounts for about 30% of acute hospital admissions every year. With increasing access to precision medicine applications, this will likely decrease the number of hospital admissions caused by side effects from traditional practices.
- Investment in precision medicine from leading pharmaceutical companies will experience a 1/3 increase in the next five years. This demonstrates the commitment to acceleration in precision medicine research from the biggest pharmaceutical companies.
- 66% of phase 3 pipelines are focused on non-oncology areas of medicine. This demonstrates how applications of precision medicine are diversifying away from treatment of oncology.
- 1 out of 5 people who receive genetic counseling make an informed decision not to pursue a treatment regimen. With increased access to digestible information consumers will have more independence over their healthcare.
- 30 million people with type 2 diabetes get the same diagnosis and treatment. The growth of precision medicine is providing the opportunity to provide individualized treatment and will re-calibrate current treatment practices.
- 1 million people contribute to the advancement of precision medicine through the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) in the U.S. This points to the U.S. maintaining its leadership position in the personalized medicine field.
- Genomic sequencing commonly used in precision medicine therapies can cost over $5,000. Advances in research will lead to lower costs for genomic sequencing allowing for wider access to precision medicine techniques.
- 35% of FDA approved drugs for cancer were precision medicines. This demonstrates the growth of precision medicines to treat cancer, however research is rapidly expanding in non-oncological fields.
- The global precision medicine market will reach a value of $2.4 trillion in 2022. The global centers for precision medicine research are currently North America and Western Europe. As costs fall, applications will spread to Asia.