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Immun Ageing. 2010 Dec 16;7 Suppl 1:S1. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-7-S1-S1.

Predictive diagnostics and personalized medicine for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Via San Giacomo 14, 40126, Bologna, Italy.


Progressive increase of mean age and life expectancy in both industrialized and emerging societies parallels an increment of chronic degenerative diseases (CDD) such as cancer, cardiovascular, autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases among the elderly. CDD are of complex diagnosis, difficult to treat and absorbing an increasing proportion in the health care budgets worldwide. However, recent development in modern medicine especially in genetics, proteomics, and informatics is leading to the discovery of biomarkers associated with different CDD that can be used as indicator of disease's risk in healthy subjects. Therefore, predictive medicine is merging and medical doctors may for the first time anticipate the deleterious effect of CDD and use markers to identify persons with high risk of developing a given CDD before the clinical manifestation of the diseases. This innovative approach may offer substantial advantages, since the promise of personalized medicine is to preserve individual health in people with high risk by starting early treatment or prevention protocols. The pathway is now open, however the road to an effective personalized medicine is still long, several (diagnostic) predictive instruments for different CDD are under development, some ethical issues have to be solved. Operative proposals for the heath care systems are now needed to verify potential benefits of predictive medicine in the clinical practice. In fact, predictive diagnostics, personalized medicine and personalized therapy have the potential of changing classical approaches of modern medicine to CDD.

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