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January 25, 2017
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – STC (Scientific Technologies Corporation, a leader in immunization intelligence™) together with Dr. Walter Dehority, (Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist and Associate Professor with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center), today released a new look at applying personalized medicine applied to vaccines, known as “vaccinomics” (pronounced with a long “o”, as in “genomics”).
PERSONALIZED MEDICINE VS. THE SANSABELT. To start, Dr. Dehority explained why we should care about the vaccination version of personalized medicine: “The easiest way to start thinking about personalized medicine is to think about pharmacogenomics, and how we could match dosages of drugs to patients. Right now, a 70 year-old woman who weighs 40 kilos (about 88 pounds) and a 25 year-old lineman for the Dallas Cowboys are both going to get the same dosage; that is, the ‘adult dosage.’ That’s ‘the Sansabelt Approach.’ Instead of creating a custom suit, you just let one size fit all.” However, once a vaccine can be adapted to an individual’s genetics, much would change.
THE DIFFERENCE IT WOULD MAKE: one example of the need for vaccinomics. For instance, there’s a current outbreak of mumps in Arkansas, mostly among college-age kids. A fair percentage of those kids received their recommended vaccines. Dr. Dehority says, “What probably has happened with the vaccinated kids is that the immunity wasn’t sustained. And there’s probably a genetic underpinning. If we could identify the genetics, then we could deal with the lack of immunity, maybe adding another dose before college.”
WHEN WILL WE SEE IT? THE “TRICKLE-IN EFFECT. So, vaccinomics sounds great, even inevitable. However, the complexity of the immune system, with its thousands of genes, has Dr. Dehority convinced that vaccinomics will arrive slowly, vaccine by vaccine: “There will eventually be a breakthrough – there are researchers out there who will come up with a way to apply genomics to a specific immunization – it might be measles or whooping cough or something else, we can’t really say. That will be the start; then, maybe three years later there will be another one; then a year after that, another. We don’t know the order, but it’s likely they will trickle in.”
How long will it take? Well, breakthroughs don’t have a schedule. However, given the momentum behind personalized medicine, we can be certain that we’ll be hearing much more about vaccinomics.
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