Hypertension can be hard to treat. Different patients respond differently to medications. A treatment that works for one patient may not work for everyone. Large drug trials cannot explain how each individual will respond to treatment. Large trials do not study findings in diverse groups. Scientists want to understand what causes hypertension, and doctors want to prevent and treat the disease. Data suggest that high blood pressure is different for everyone. Newer research strategies can determine how best to treat individual patients.
Precision medicine can determine a person’s genetic and lifestyle risk for high blood pressure. Precision medicine has three aims. The first aim is to find out what causes the disease. Next, we must find how each person can keep from getting high blood pressure. The third aim is to find out which medications work based on an individual’s unique profile. The medical community will need to understand the factors that make everyone unique. For precision medicine to work best, we will need information from lots of diverse people.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh want to create programs so that diverse groups benefit from precision medicine. Researchers have partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago. We will help providers talk about precision medicine with patients and the community. Researchers are also working to predict heart disease outcomes based on genetic and lifestyle risk. Precision medicine is a solution to treating difficult medical problems. In the future, precision medicine should help everyone, including those who have historically been underrepresented in medical research.
Amber E. Johnson, MD, MBA, FACC, is Clinical Instructor, Post-Doctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology
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