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Personalized medicine promises better treatment, lower cost By april a. morris | staff

gerry pate / contributing

Volunteers and employees keep an eye on the turkeys frying at the sixth annual Great Thanksgiving Turkey Fry at Miracle Hill Rescue in Spartanburg.

Holiday giving predictions mixed Upstate charities forsee flat or falling donations By SHELBY LIVINGSTON | contributor

November couples Thanksgiving with National Homelessness Awareness Month, combining a time of thanks with a time of giving to those who have less. The giving season has definitely arrived: Thanksgiving through Christmas is prime time for charities and nonprofits to accrue most of their funds. This year, however,

there is a nagging fear that the weak economy and the damage wreaked by Hurricane Sandy will dampen charitable gifts for the 2012 holiday season. Those in the philanthropy business have mixed opinions on the likelihood of those DONATIONS continued

Within the next decade, patients will be able to present a personalized genome to their physicians, making it possible to predict disease and optimize health. This was the message that Dr. Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, brought to the recent What Next? conference of the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO). Hood spoke on personalized medicine, or the use of new methods of molecular analysis to better manage a patient’s disease or predisposition to disease.  Understanding how disease affects all of the body’s systems, even down to the genetic level, combined with knowledge of environmental factors can ultimately reduce healthcare costs and increase wellness, Hood said. Through mapping and tracking a disease’s genetic effects, physicians will be able to diagnose a disease early on because the genetic signs have already been documented, he said. His institute has tracked brain disease in mice and recorded its effects on a genetic level. With this kind of data, a disease can be diagnosed even before symptoms appear, he said. Hood calls his systematic approach to healthcare “P4 medicine,” which stands for “predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory.” Knowing the genetic code of patients not only allows physicians to diagnose a disease earlier, but to match treatment medication more accurately, he said. For example, some patients are drugtolerant, and if that is already known, then certain drugs can be avoided, he said. “When you understand in detail the specific mechanisms of disease, SCBIO continued on page 17

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Nov. 23, 2012 Greenville Journal