Prudhoe, United Kingdom (PressExposure) October 28, 2009 -- The pharmaceutical industry has been slow to keep pace with its counterparts but I believe this is changing. Potentially, the next 10 to15 years could see new medicines and treatments being introduced that historically may have a similar impact to when antibiotics were produced in the mid-1900s. Development of biologicals, regenerative medicines, greater understanding of drug metabolic pathways, new vaccines, more diagnostic tools and personalised medicines are all areas where advancements could signifiÂ¬cantly improve health and therefore lives for the better.
Letâs take one of these areas, personalised medicines; a term that is becoming more commonly used but what does it actually mean? Iâd suggest there are several forms of personalised medicine, for example: Medicines given to a particular patient based on diagnostic test information regarding what will work from a metabolic point of view (for example herceptin will only work where patients have certain enzymes); Treatments that involve removing tissue or blood samples from a patient, modifying them in some way and then returning them to that patient; Medicines of a certain type given in a particular combination or strength following diagnostic or other testing, which indicates the patient requires treatment and such treatment may be given prior to any physical manifestation of a disease state.
At a recent conference in the US I attended a lecture from David Ewing Duncan who has written a book called Experimental Man. David spent several months going through every available diagnostic test currently available, over 200 tests in all. These included the obvious tests such a blood pressure and cholesterol but also more expensive test things such as MRI scans, detailed genetic profiÂ¬ling and sensitivity to chemicals and foods. This type of testing can provide information that allows doctors to offer medicines that will work in a particular patient because tests show that they can metabolise the drug in the appropriate manner. It would also allow doctors to prescribe a more accurate dose as in some cases people metabolise drugs at different rates. It also provided genetic information that impacted on his children.
One example of the impact of having differing metabolic pathways is patients who cannot metabolise paracetamol. In one particularly tragic case in Canada, this resulted in a newborn child dying of a paracetamol overdose. The child had been breastfed by its mother who suffered from this condition and the child suffered from an overdose as a result of the paracetamol not being broken down. If the mother had been aware of this, this sad death could have been avoided.
As a pharma manufacturing company, we at SCM Pharma must think through what impact these developments could have on our business and endeavour to provide facilities and resources that will support these new advances. Production of more complex diagnostic aids, small batch campaigns and increased biologicals volumes are all areas we are working to support our clients. By diversifying into niche commercial manufacture and offering a wider range of manufacturing options on a small to medium scale, we believe we will be able to play a major role in developing novel personalised medicines and treatments in the future.
Written by Shirley Dann, Managing Director at SCM Pharma - http://www.scm-pharma.com.