Targeted personalized medicine is quickly evolving and becoming a prominent force in healthcare innovation.
With its evolution comes significant changes in how business is done and a wave of bioscience trailblazers with groundbreaking therapies and technologies revolutionizing how we diagnose and treat diseases. Personalized medicine is rooted in the belief that individual patients have unique characteristics resulting from their environmental exposure and molecular, physiological, and behavioral levels and that patient-to-patient scenarios show inter-individual variations in disease processes. Progressive technologies like DNA sequencing, proteomics, image protocols, and wireless health monitoring devices have proven the need to facilitate more individualistic patient care applications and created momentum for further research to develop more precise therapies.
There is a frontline movement of cell and gene therapy entrepreneurs and researchers who, by embracing targeted personalized medicines, are rewriting the possibilities of patient care and the healthcare marketplace. Companies like March Biosciences, a clinical-stage cell-therapy company targeting challenging hematological malignancies, are one example of innovators changing we approach medicinal development and patient therapies.
MD Anderson Cancer’s Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Center at the Texas Medical Center is one of the world’s most extensive facilities for stem cell transplants.
More than 850 procedures for adults and children are performed yearly for cancers, hematologic diseases, and autoimmune disorders. In addition to providing comprehensive stem cell transplant services, MD Anderson maintains a cell processing laboratory for preparing safe and effective tissues for transplantation. It performs 1,000 collections annually through its apheresis and stem cell collection unit. Within this system, each patient equals one targeted drug creation. This is made possible via an in-house process where a biospecimen is brought in, a medication is created and formulated, and ultimately administered to a patient in the same booked clean room.
Compared to traditional “one-size-fits-all” processes, precision medicine is a white glove service that impacts every step within the supply chain.
Manufacturing, supply logistics, distribution, and patient infusion become patient and hospital-specific applications. While the emergence of these small-batch therapies creates the need and demand for transformation in supply chain operations, the promise of providing more accurate and specialized treatments for many diseases is worth the effort. The drug development industry is betting heavily on personalized medicine, signaling that a transformation is underway. Leading life science companies have nearly doubled their investment in personalized medicine in the last five years and expect an additional 33% increase over the next five years. This means patients will benefit from medicines and therapies designed with their unique situations in mind and reduced adverse drug reactions, trial-and-error prescribing, high-risk invasive procedures, and healthcare costs.
An example of this is the evolution of cancer drugs which focus less on the appearance of specific tissue types where tumors originate and more on the underlying genetics controlling cell function. Since all cancers express biomarkers, developing biomarker-based targeted and personalized therapeutics enables M.D.s to identify patients who’ll likely benefit from specific therapies while additionally predicting tumor resistance.
“It has been difficult to achieve meaningful patient responses with medicines optimized around broad treatment of many cancers. Now, we can arm living drugs with the specific toolset to drive responses on a per-patient basis, achieving powerful responses using the same toolkit (immune cells) that your body uses to keep you healthy for most of your life.” – Sarah Hein, CEO, March Biosciences
While targeted therapies and medicines hold outstanding potential to better patient outcomes, they are not without challenges. The healthcare infrastructure needs a full-cycle evolution – from discovery to drug development and manufacturing – to accommodate personalized medicine delivery. This infrastructure should aim to deliver targeted therapeutics in compliance with regulatory expectations, integrate personalized therapy into a standard of care workflow, and improve patient care outcomes ultimately.
There are many challenges to overcome to fulfill the promises of personalized therapeutics, and the best way to do this is through orchestrating key players such as institutions, regulatory agencies, payors, and industry players. Now is the most opportune moment for innovators to revolutionize the marketplace and patient outcomes through personalized medicines.
Learn how biopharma manufacturers and bioscience entrepreneurs can receive crucial clinical and business development tools and forge a path to the healthcare marketplace through the Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics at the Texas Medical Center Innovation Factory.