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The situation For Personalized Medicine

What is “Personalized Medicine” and why are the particular medical profession and pharmaceutical sector moving toward making it the new paradigm for medical treatment?

Personalized medicine refers to determining the most effective course of treatment based on the patient’s biochemical constitution, which, in turn, is determined by his/her gene profile. Exactly why is this approach gaining popularity? Consider just one area in which it may be very effective: medication side effects.

How often have you seen/heard ads that start by describing the health advantages of a particular drug only to end using a frightening description of its numerous possible side effects? Who experiences those responses and how can they be avoided? Determining slight differences in the biochemistry of individuals in a population, governed by their individual gene profiles, may provide the solutions.

Similar to having different reactions in order to drugs, individuals also respond differently to environmental toxins. A recent study seems to support a role for individualized medicine in predicting and enhancing those responses.

Smoker Signals
Most people would probably tell you that inhaling the particles present in cigarette smoke will not improve your health, especially the health of your lungs. But not many would be aware that only 15% of smokers actually develop emphysema associated with chronic bronchitis (also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD).

The question is the reason why such a surprisingly low number? No doubt you’ve already guessed the broader answer: gene profile. But a group of investigators recently set out to uncover more of the specifics, like which gene/genes is/are responsible and how do variations in gene structure make one person susceptible to smoke cigarettes and another relatively resistant?

Nrf2 Protein Power
The investigators had been aware of reports that identified a significantly lower level of a specific proteins in the tissues of patients with COPD, as compared to healthy people. This particular protein, known as Nrf2, is often referred to as a redox-sensitive protein and handles a cellular system for cleansing.

Nrf2 is activated in tissue under oxidant stress, for example , lung tissues exposed to high levels of toxic free radicals like those made by cigarette smoke. Once Nrf2 is turned on, it transports to the nucleus from the cell and turns on numerous genetics (over 100) responsible for protecting cellular material from toxic insults.

The investigators theorized that individuals whose lung tissues respond to cigarette smoke with a robust service of the Nrf2 protein are much less susceptible to COPD than those with little if any Nrf2 activation. They tested their hypothesis with a mouse model of COPD.

Of Mice and Nrf2
The investigators used a strain of rodents that developed COPD in response to the six-month exposure to cigarette smoke. In one experiment, they microscopically examined lung cells from the mice and found comparable pathological changes to lung tissues taken from human COPD patients.

The particular subjects of a separate experiment were completely lacking in the gene necessary for the production of Nrf2. This team exhibited more pronounced development of COPD and the tissues of the lung had been more diseased.

These findings backed the researchers’ hypothesis of an immediate correlation between the capacity to produce Nrf2 and preventing COPD in cigarette-smoke exposed mice.
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In other words, if the gene was absent (or functioning poorly), the individual exposed to cigarette smoke would develop the disease.

Boosting Nrf2 Response
Next, the investigators experimented with synthesizing the nutrient/chemical, a triterpenoid known as CDDO-IM, which, when fed to mice, acts as a potent activator of Nrf2. Now, they wondered whether pre-treating mice with this nutrient would shield them from the damaging effects of cigarettes and, moreover, if the mice will be more resistant the more Nrf2 their particular cells produced.

So , in another experiment, one group of mice had been fed a diet containing CDDO-IM as the diet of a comparable group was lacking this Nrf2 activator. The particular CDDO-IM group developed significantly less lung tissue pathology from exposure to cigarette smoke than their counterparts. These outcomes seem to imply that specific nutrients will help boost the cell-protective Nrf2 response and stop, or at least improve, the symptoms of a toxin-induced disease.

Back to Personalized Medicine
The results from the above experiments, as well as findings from human reactions to medicines and environmental toxins, indicate the genetic capacity for cell protection against a variety of threats and their tissue-damaging effects.

Unfortunately, some of us are more vunerable to certain potentially toxic substances compared to others due to genetic differences. These differences manifest themselves not only in the ability to respond, but also in the power of the response. Working from could be genetic profile, personalized medicine can provide targeted treatment.

For example , recommending nutrients that appear to activate the particular Nrf2-controlled detoxification cellular system could potentially support a more robust response. A few of these include sulforaphane, present in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts), as well as other grow compounds such as lipoic acid.

Basically, a diet containing plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits may promote a genetically more efficient detoxification system, assisting to prevent a variety of diseases.

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