Traditional medicine in the United States has relied upon clinical trials to test new therapies, then applying those tested and approved therapies to everyone with a certain condition.
Individualized medicine is changing that process by allowing therapeutic interventions that are more tailored to the particular patient.
Such developments result from more than a decade of research into the human genome, including both the ability to sequence individual genes and to study the DNA and RNA that provide instructions to those genes.
With advancements in technology and research, however, comes a need for new ways to translate those findings to doctors.
"Since the advent of the human genome in 2001," said Yves A. Lussier, an engineer, and physician-scientists. "There's this nascent field of trying to translate in words that physicians can understand the meaning of the genome for clinical practice".
Lussier is a leader in that emerging field, called translational bioinformatics.
He said that the past decade of experience with the genome has shown that most diseases are of "complex inheritance." That means older approaches, targeted to a more generalized patient, are not so effective. "We need to embrace complexity, and simplify it", Lussier said.
Lussier recently joined the Bio5 research institute as an associate director of informatics. His role will be to help develop more personalized treatments for cancer patients.