Personalized care for patients

Health Watch

Through wearable technology, genetics, and other tools, the Humanwide Project aims to personalize care and take the mystery out of how we work.

Debbie Spaizman can’t get enough of her prize roses. But her green thumb was nearly sidelined by a health concern.

Surgery was needed, but she hesitated due to how she reacted to pain medication.

She says, “My head would spin. I really was foggy, and I had itching all over my body. But I had no pain relief at all. I thought twice about having the surgery.”

To get answers, debbie enrolled in the Humanwide Project at Stanford Medical School. the study flips the model on healthcare by personalizing treatment. that includes a deep dive into pharmacogenics.

Dr. Megan Mahoney says, “Pharmacogenomics specifically tests for genes that look at the rate in which we metabolize drugs. It can determine the dosing of medications and also predict any side effects”

Meaning our genes can play a big role in how we respond to medicine. And so, with a quick swab of the cheek, Debbie finally got answers.

Spaizman says, “The result of the test showed that I’m a slow metabolizer. Drugs will stay in my system longer than they will for someone else.”

With that, a plan started to come together for Debbie.

Dr. Mahoney says, “We were able to identify the class of opioids that would work for her based on her pharmacogenomic make-up and then she was able to go through with the surgery.”

Spaizman says, “It was life changing for me.”

And she’s not the only one.

Dr. Mahoney says, “Twenty-five percent of patients had a change in their dose of medication based on the pharmacogenomics test.”

It’s an approach that Debbie calls an absolutely game changer.

Stanford is not the only one paying attention to pharmacogenics.

In addition to Saint Jude Hospital, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is making a big push to personalize medicine for its vets.

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