Rise of personalized medicine
A medical researcher told me that in coming decades the role of hospitals will be diminished. Being an experienced researcher with over 20 years of experience he told your blogger that different types of vaccines will make hospital visits rare. One of them he said was edible vaccines which have been developed and are being tested. These are vaccine delivered on an edible platform which range from plants to bacteria. The former includes transgenic crops, which overcome problems of vaccine storage within the cold chain, which constrain the use of traditional vaccines in low-resource settings. Another type of vaccine he said was oral vaccines which are administered directly to the gastrointestinal system to induce local immunity in the lining of the gut and stimulate the immune system to fight some bacteria and viruses. He said in regions like Africa, this has come in handy for cases like cholera which are are commonly administered orally in most parts of Africa. Another type is dry powder vaccines that are inhaled into the lungs are effective in initiating immune responses, researchers have established that they have been effective in fighting infections in a similar way to injectable vaccinations and have fewer side effects. He added that the emerging personalized medication are tailored therapies to suit a person’s metabolism or genetic make-up. According to the research he’s involved, such strategies have worked well with medication which are metabolized by liver enzymes. In what I could only understand as a commoner, he explained that our lower gut is home to a number of bacteria made up of so-called bad strains and good strains. Apparently, the good bacteria help our immune system develop, salvage nutrients and keep the bad bacteria in check. On the other hand, the bad strains are associated with inflammatory bowel disease and a host of other conditions such as obesity.There are many important hormones in the gut which regulate gastrointestinal function as well as alter how a person feel. Serotonin, a gut hormone that helps keep our meal moving, is particularly important in this process.
In an ongoing research, it has been the target of different classes of drug designed to reduce the symptoms of constipation, slowed gastric emptying and reflux. With the levels of serotonin in our gut, the researcher said it can determine whether some therapies are effective or not. In a genetic testing he’s involved using mice, early results have shown scientists may be able to identify thousands of different strains of bacteria in the human gut. In his own words, this would allow to map each individual bacterial community and better understand the role particular bacteria play in producing or reducing common gastrointestinal complaints through personalized medication.He advised your blogger that best way to find out what’s happening inside blogger’s gut is to have a look. And there’s nothing more personal than taking a few pictures along the way. In medical terms, such a process involves a camera attached to several metres of fibre optics which is gently fed down to oesophagus and regions below.Known as endoscopy, it is the most common and unfortunately priciest outpatient procedure at various hospitals because it takes a highly skilled clinician to safely perform the procedures. However, he said the advent of cheap digital cameras, different organizations are trying to place a tiny camera inside a pill which will be a cheaper and more efficient alternative to endoscopy.He explained that once swallowed, the pill-cam travels down the entire gastrointestinal tract along with any other food. Technology is driving many of the advances in personalised medicine and is allowing for the variation in individuals to be taken into account during treatment. Patients struggling with unpleasant and debilitating gastrointestinal diseases may benefit from some of these advances.Him and fellow researchers are hoping that in future, computerised diagnoses systems will help analyse all images and help the clinician plan our personalised treatment.