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The four Ps of P4 medicine

The premise of P4 medicine is that in years to come medical practice will be transformed by biotechnology into a more targeted approach that manages a person's overall health.

What are the four P's of P4 medicine?

A term coined by biologist Leroy Hood, the premise of P4 medicine is that in years to come medical practice will be transformed by biotechnology into a more targeted approach that manages a person's overall health as opposed to simply managing a patient's disease. Rather than the medicine of the past that worked on population averages - the medicine of the future will focus on the individual.

P4 Medicine is comprised of four Ps:

Predictive: In 10 years we'll all have our genomes as part of our medical record. This will tell us what disease we are at risk of and offer specific advice on how to optimise wellness.

Preventative: With this type of medicine, the mysteries of the immune system will be solved so that vaccines for conditions such as Aids and Malaria can be created. It will also refocus medicine on the future rather than the present so that patients are constantly thinking about their overall wellness.

Personalised: We are all genetically different and therefore should be considered as genetically unique and not as a statistical average. It means we should be responsible for being in control of our transition from health to disease.

Participatory: This raises questions of how to convince physicians that this revolution in medicine is something they can adopt, how to educate patients about the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of adopting this medicine and how to change the mindset of the entire medical community.

* Alice Haine

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