UAB Precision Medicine


Every body is different. A drug or therapy that works well for one person, for example, may prove ineffective or even harmful in another patient. UAB Precision Medicine evaluates individual characteristics such as your genes, ethnic background, and lifestyle and environmental factors to customize a treatment plan that works best for you. As a leader in traditional medicine, research, and advanced genomic science, we have the expertise and technology needed to fight your disease with unmatched precision – and achieve unprecedented results.

UAB Precision Medicine offers treatment services in the following areas:

Pharmacogenomics – the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs – combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to help us tailor drug therapy to a person’s genetic makeup. This can allow physicians to be more precise in choosing medications and doses that increase the likelihood of effectiveness, decrease the risk of side effects, and achieve better, safer results for you.

  • Precision Oncology: Unlike the “shotgun” approach of chemotherapy, targeted therapeutics are designed to block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules, or “targets,” associated with the cancer. Targeted cancer therapeutics, or precision oncology, begins with genome sequencing of the tumor and review of the results by the Molecular Tumor Board, a team comprised of medical specialists who are experts in targeted cancer treatment. In many cases, it is possible to choose a drug based on genomic sequencing that offers the best chance of successful treatment and minimizes the potential for side effects.
  • Pharmacogenetics/Pharmacogenomics: Until recently, medications often have been prescribed using a “one-size-fits-all” approach. However, medications do not work the same way for everyone, so it can be difficult to predict who will benefit from a medication, who will not respond at all, and who will experience negative side effects, or adverse drug reactions. Adverse drug reactions are a significant cause of hospitalization and death in the United States.
  • Precision Specialty Therapeutics: As more is learned about the specific risk factors for disease, the true targets that are at the core of a particular condition are coming to light. UAB Precision Medicine is incorporating targeted therapeutics into care across the medical spectrum. Current examples include the UAB Breast Health Center, where a total body approach is used to recommend nutritional, lifestyle, and other changes designed to enhance your therapy and speed your recovery; Nervous System and Movement Disorders, where precision treatments are available for conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis; and the Mood Disorders Program, through which your pharmacogenomic profile is used to choose medications with the best chance of effective treatment. There are many other such examples, and the application of precision specialty therapeutics is growing steadily as more is learned about the roots of rare and common medical conditions.

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