By gaining the ability to study and understand organic processes behind metabolite generation, doctors will be able to draw up profiles of their patients. Since these profiles keep changing in response to the condition of the body, they can give clues to the most effective course of treatment. For example, the metabolite profile of patients change in reaction to the presence of a foreign body, with the intake of a drug, or in response to stressful stimuli. In essence, Metabolomics “is the evaluation of tissues and body fluids, such as urine, blood, plasma, saliva, and cerebrospinal fluid, for metabolite changes that may result from bodily responses”. (Bren, 2005) And metabolomic analysis can be conducted using methods such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance(NMR) and Mass Sprectrometry (MS). While the speciality of NMR is to recognize and measure numerous metabolites in a body fluid extract, MS on the other hand can “display, quantify, and generate profiles of thousands of metabolites with more sensitivity than NMR. The profiles are then run through powerful computers that process, store, and generate data in a form for scientists to visualize and interpret.” (Woodcock, 2005, p.39)
The potential associated with metabolomics is quite substantive. To start with, it can make orally administered drugs a lot safer by recognising their likely toxicity in the patient. By using the genomic profiles of different ethnicities and racial groups, specially targeted drugs can be prescribed. Metabolomics also has the potential to predict a patient’s chances of acquiring health conditions in the future and also to ascertain quickly if a treatment course is producing the expected recovery. Its most important contribution would be in the area of preventative treatments, whereby high-risk individuals for a particular condition can be screened, cautioned and averted early. In conjunction with proteomics and genomics, metabolomics has the potential to transform the nature of healthcare. (Hemphill, 2010, p.12)
Finally, while Personalized Medicine offers unprecedented opportunities for patients and healthcare providers alike, in order to make it work, a concerted effort from pharmacists, lawmakers and government agencies is required. Under this new paradigm of health delivery, health outcomes of admitted patients is expected to improve while overall systemic costs are likely to decrease. In the United States, agencies such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been at the forefront of conducting comparative clinical effectiveness trials for new technologies. The Health Reform Bill HR 3590 is another key step forward. These developments are on par with progress in Western European countries including Britain. (Ross, et. al., 2006, p.1)
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