Imagine a treatment journey tailored to your true essence – your genetic makeup. A journey that is easier, more efficient, and ultimately more successful, thanks to next-generation genetic testing. Welcome to the future of personalised healthcare. Welcome to Mediclinic Precise.

Mediclinic’s foray into the complex world of precision medicine stems from a simple idea, says Dr Lindsay Petersen, Chief Operations Officer: Mediclinic Precise: “We wanted to identify a way of individualising care, not just in the acute hospital space, but right across our continuum of care.”

An ambitious goal, and a worthwhile one. “Precision medicine really expands our ability to provide access to the right type of preventative, diagnostic and treatment services for you – from the primary healthcare setting all the way through to your surgery or specialised hospital care,” Dr Petersen adds.

Genetic analysis

Mediclinic Precise offers ancestry testing, which uses genetic analysis to determine your ancestry and ethnicity. This is usually done by analysing your DNA sample, which can help you trace your family history and determine how similar you are to another population group. The results of an ancestry test can provide information about your ethnic background, including the populations and regions your ancestors likely originated from. You even have an opportunity to find your genetic relatives across the globe if they’ve put their genetic data into a specific database

In future, these insights will grow into a deeper understanding of our health, and new technologies being planned will help to unravel these insights.

Prenatal screening

Mediclinic Precise also gives expectant moms a window into the health of their unborn child using non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). It’s a genetic screening test that uses a sample of a pregnant woman’s blood to analyse the DNA of her developing foetus.

NIPT is used to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in a foetus during pregnancy, such as Down syndrome. The test is non-invasive, meaning it does not pose a risk to the mother or the developing foetus, and can be performed as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy from a blood sample.

Analysis of your genetic information helps predict your reactions to various medications for safe and optimal prescribing.

Personalised treatment decisions

Pharmacogenomics is another option. It’s a branch of precision medicine that uses genetic information to help predict your response to medications. The test analyses specific genetic variants that can affect your ability to metabolise drugs, as well as their potential for adverse drug reactions.

The goal of pharmacogenomics testing is to improve the efficacy and safety of medication use. It provides personalised information about the metabolism of certain drugs to customise your dosage.

Healthcare providers can use the results of pharmacogenomics testing to inform treatment decisions, including selecting the most effective drug, adjusting the dose, and avoiding drugs that may cause adverse reactions.

What does this mean for you? “The Mediclinic Precise programme empowers us to look at what your genetic profile says about you as an individual and use that information to make personalised treatment decisions.”

Enhanced accuracy leads to an enhanced experience, and, ideally, enhanced outcomes.

“Your DNA never changes,” says Dr Petersen. “So, looking at your profile in detail means you’re able to make accurate healthcare decisions for the future.”

For example, you may need the data your DNA gives you in your twenties to answer crucial questions about your reproductive risks, such as inherited diseases you could pass on to your children in future.

Later in life, that data could be useful in determining your inherent risk of developing diabetes or hypertension or coronary artery disease – or, if you do develop a dread disease such as cancer, your DNA data can be key in determining the best method to treat it.

“That’s what makes genetic testing so interesting,” says Dr Petersen. “The more detailed analysis you do of your DNA in the beginning, the more beneficial that data becomes in future.”

This technology isn’t foolproof, of course. There are thought to be around three billion base pairs of DNA in the human genome, and researchers are confident in their ability to decode only 1-2% of them.

“At the moment, science can’t tell us everything,” says Dr Petersen, “and there’s a lot to learn about how DNA abnormalities result in diseases and how DNA variation in under-studied African populations might manifest into different health outcomes; either protective or harmful.”

But this field is expanding, and fast. “The beauty of having your DNA data in a database is that when the scientific basis changes, your DNA can be reanalysed to give you new insights going forward,” she adds.

Mediclinic Precise is aimed at providing a deeper, more detailed look into what makes us sick, why, and how to prevent and treat that burden of disease.

Find out more about your past and future health journey today.

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