Scripps Researcher Lays Out Future of Individualized Medicine

Special review in the journal Cell explores the convergence of digital and biological worlds

Eric Topol, MD, cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health.

Eric Topol, MD, cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health.

Health care has reached an important convergence point between the digital and biological worlds that promises to radically transform the way medicine has been practiced for decades.

That is the message that Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric Topol, MD, delivers in “Individualized Medicine from Prewomb to Tomb,” a special review published in the journal Cell’s 40th anniversary edition.

In wide-ranging scale, the cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute weaves together a multitude of new methods for digitizing each patient – whole-genome and single-cell sequencing, microbiome analysis, vital signs tracking with wireless biosensors, and bioinformatics – to paint a picture of how these cutting-edge technologies can combine to produce precise, individualized medicine that stretches from before birth to the end of life.

Dr. Topol even coined a term to capture the vastness of his vision of the future of medicine: panoromic (inspired by the word panoramic, which references a wide-angle/comprehensive perspective, and the suffix -omics, which denotes an area of biological study).

The review ends with a call to rigorously validate the clinical and economic effectiveness of these new approaches and to share these vast streams of data in a secure way that maximizes scientific discovery.

“Although we are still at the nascent stages of individualized medicine, there has never been more promise and opportunity to reboot the way health care can be rendered,” Dr. Topol concludes.

Read the Cell review: Individualized Medicine from Prewomb to Tomb

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Keith Darce

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