USF institute might reform patient diagnosis

Posted: July 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

By LINDSAY PETERSON | The Tampa Tribune Published: July 16, 2012 Updated: July 16, 2012 - 6:00 AM

Stephen Liggett isn't crazy about the term personalized medicine, though he's been practicing it for nearly two decades as a doctor and scientist.

Good doctors have personalized their treatment for centuries, he said.

But this is different. Game-change different.

The University of South Florida has created a Personalized Medicine Institute and hired Liggett from the University of Maryland to put it together and elevate it to national prominence.

He's in charge of ushering in a fundamentally new kind of health care to Florida. It's based on this idea:

Key information about a person's health and response to drug treatment is locked inside his genetic code, and that information should guide every doctor's treatment decisions.

It's the antithesis to the "one-size-fits-all" approach that dominates health care treatment across the country, Liggett said.

For instance, if you have heart trouble, your doctor will probably prescribe Coumadin, a drug that prevents blood from clotting and precipitating a heart attack or stroke. Millions of people take it.

But if you have a certain genetic makeup, Coumadin could cause fatal side effects.

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USF institute might reform patient diagnosis

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