Generally speaking, patients tend to get tested at their doctor’s clinic on regular basis or during their annual checkups. These medical examinations often involve a series of personalized diagnostics tests, but what do the terms personalized and precision medicine mean?

In 2018, Charles River Associates prepared a report that addresses the benefits of personalized medicine including finding better treatments for patients, giving benefits to health systems and society and developing new medications in a more efficient way.

According to GHR (Genetics Home Reference) the term personalized medicine is older than precision medicine however, both terms are actually quite similar and they can be used almost interchangeably. If we want to be specific and go into more detail, precision medicine can be thought of as medicine with focus on identifying the best approach, based on genetics, environment and lifestyle, whereas personalized medicine refers to treatments and preventions developed specifically for each patient.

These terms are naturally related to genetics, since genetics is unique to each patient. The genetic knowledge of an individual allows to better understand the functioning of one’s body, sometimes allowing to even predict the appearance of some diseases or the probability of them occurring. Lately, the research in this field has been increasingly focused on trying to anticipate diseases and finding ways of reducing the likelihood of their development and occurrence. For example, changes in specific genes can help to identify an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. While the mutations of some genes explain the prevalence of certain types of cancers in some families, the “deactivation” of some genes prevents the development of certain tumors.

Cancer cells have different biological machinery than normal cells. As a cell starts becoming cancerous, its frequency of division increases and its telomeres start shortening at a higher rate. Cancerous cells escape senescence and become immortal, with the ability to indefinitely replicate, resulting in uncontrolled tumor growth. This process is closely related to alteration of telomere biology.

Consequently, Life Length has been researching the use of its telomere measurement technology for the diagnosis and prognosis of different types of cancer for the last few years. As a result of the company’s immense R & D efforts as well as the Oncocheck project, Life Length has been able to develop a new tool for the decision making process in prostate cancer diagnosis, a prostate cancer risk score test called ProsTAV. This new personalized marker is our contribution to the development of personalized medicine.

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