We are thrilled to present Volume 97, Issue 1 of the University of Toronto Medical Journal, which focuses o the important and emerging topic of Personalized Medicine. Physicians and researchers have known for centuries that patients respond differently to different medications. In a group of patients taking the same medication, one person may experience debilitating side effects, while in another, it may have little to no effect. These differences in response pose significant challenges in patient care, with increasing concern that one’s attempts to help a patient may instead cause undue harm. Inherited genetic variations provide a significant contribution to these differences. Personalized medicine, understood as the use of molecular analysis to provide most optimal medical treatment based on one’s individual genetic makeup, seeks to provide medication tailored to an individual’s genetic variations. This approach porports better medication selection, with greater clinical effectiveness and fewer side effects. Examples of current personalized therapies, such as Myriad’s BRCA1/BRCA2 test, demonstrate both the promise and potential controversy of these new treatment modalities. With the widespread interest in tailored therapies by patients, clinicians must be aware of new developments in the field of personalized medicine, limitations of targeted therapy, as well as its reception by the public.
In this issue of the University of Toronto Medical Journal, we will address this important topic of personalized medicine. We believe that this issue will bring forth areas that are worth exploring, including but not limited to the development of targeted therapies, changes in the approach to patient management, the legal, ethical, and regulatory challenges in managing these promising new innovations, as well as the view of these treatments in the general population.
This is the first issue of the University of Toronto Medical Journal’s 97th volume. We would like to sincerely thank our dedicated editorial team for all the hard work that went into preparing this issue, and their continued efforts in upcoming issues. We are grateful for the patrons and faculty that continue to support the University of Toronto Medical Journal and the authors that have allowed us to showcase their important work. We hope that you find this issue informative and thought-provoking.
Tatiana Yeuchyk and Kathleen Simms