Leicester BRC includes a cross-cutting theme in precision medicine. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual differences in genes, environment, and lifestyle. We believe that by embracing this exciting research approach, we can advance our scientific knowledge for translation into patient benefit.
Precision medicine – also known as personalised or stratified medicine – works by combining conventional areas of expertise and information with one or more new types of evidence. For example, we use new wearable technologies, electronic health care records, genomics and other –omics (such as transcriptomics, metabolomics, proteomics). With this approach we can better predict which prevention and treatment will be suitable for individuals and subgroups of patients.
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field of science, combining computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering to manage and make use of biological data. This can improve both the safety profiles and the effectiveness of treatments. Major drives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project, of which Leicester is a centre, exemplify the role of the UK in leading the development and implementation of precision medicine for improved healthcare on a national and international scale.
Molecular pathology is another major tool in precision medicine. Tiny samples of blood or tissue are taken from the patient and analysed for levels of large molecules such as proteins and DNA. Combining these results with other information, such as imaging and clinical data, enables us to precisely divide patients into subgroups and optimise their treatment.