Personalised medicine. Precision medicine. Individualised medicine. Customised medicine. Targeted medicine. All buzzwords of recent years that excite, confuse and infuriate the public, researchers and healthcare professionals. Broadly speaking, these terms all refer to the idea of tailoring treatment to individual patients based on their genetic code.
What does it all mean, and why should you care?
This free online course will discuss both the hype and hope surrounding the genetic revolution and personalised medicine. The impact of personalised medicine on clinical practice will likely yield significant benefits for patients, yet it raises a number of serious ethical and legal issues for health professionals, patients and the community.
In this unique course you will learn from leading researchers and healthcare professionals how genetic testing is currently used to guide treatment across diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and mental health, and infectious disease. You will also explore the power of genetics to impact disease prevention and diagnosis, and the social, legal, political and ethical implications of this new knowledge.
Week One: We begin by discussing what causes disease and development of personal traits – our genes or our environment? We will also explore how genes are passed from one generation to the next, basic medical genetics, and how recent technological and scientific advances have heralded the advent of the genetic revolution, and the global approach and impact of these advances.
Week Two: We will explore the concept of risk and multifactorial disease. We will describe examples of genes that pre-dispose patients to specific diseases, and discuss genetic testing and genetic counselling.
Week Three: We will investigate the use of personalised medicine today and tease out the reality from the hype. We will also explore the apparent delay between research findings and translation to the clinic - from bench to bedside.
Week Four: We will describe the rationale of medical patents, clinical trials, drug approval and regulation, and how these differ in various parts of the world.
Week Five: We will explore and debate the legal and ethical issues surrounding genetic testing and personalised medicine.
This course will distill the hype around personalised medicine, and allow you to form your own opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of the genetic revolution. Learning from a wide variety of expert clinicians and researchers currently working in the field, you will be equipped with the language and skills to debate the impact of personalised medicine on your own situation.
Anyone interested in learning about personalised medicine. No particular background in science or medicine is required. All you need is an Internet connection, and the time to read, write, discuss and debate the issues raised by personalised medicine. All are welcome.
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