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The term “predictive medicine” is referred to the possibility of predicting the risk of the onset of a disease in a healthy individual.


Therefore, predictive medicine  focuses on those individuals who have not developed pathologies yet and look for clues suggesting an individual's predisposition to develop a disease.
By this approach it will be possible to act before the pathological manifestation or at an early stage of the disease in order to prevent or limit the development of the pathology by choosing an appropriate lifestyle, periodically undergoing early diagnosis tests or adopting the necessary therapeutic measures.

Although there are several scientific disciplines dealing with the concept of predictive medicine, genomics, that is the study of the human genome, is certainly the one with the biggest potential.

How does it work?

The human DNA sequence is shared by all human beings at 99.5% of identity. Only 0.5% of the entire genome (about 10 million bases over 3 billion) is responsible for the uniqueness of each individual. The combinations of these small differences, called SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism), determine the unique characteristics of each individual. SNPs determine the somatic traits of an individual such as eye color, intolerance to certain compounds and may be responsible for predisposition to certain pathologies or how an individual responds to drug therapy.

Predictive Medicine is focused on SNPs, studying the association between SNPs and specific pathological predispositions. However, at the same time, SNPs may indicate the best treatment or the drugs to be avoided for the treatment of certain conditions.  Within the 2010/2020 Nation-Wide prevention Plan the Italian Ministry of Health states

“Predictive medicine allows you to determine the risk profile of each person, monitor their evolution and make appropriate preventive interventions as well as select the best treatment, dose, and treatment time. Therefore, predictive medicine acts as the medicine of individuality, however to do so it requires a growth process defined not only by the advancement of basic research but also by the ability of physicians, other health professionals and patients to enhance the availability and use of individual risk information, particularly genetic, and to be aware of the limitations and / or disadvantages associated with this new situation”.