In the rapidly evolving field of healthcare protocols and advancements in treatments of various diseases and health conditions, two city doctors have been digging deep, down to the genetic information level, in a bid to ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients.
“This is the next step in medical care,” says Dr. Kalyan Uppuluri, from K& H Personalized Medicine Clinic. He, along with Dr. Hima Challa, are the founders of the clinic, the first of its kind in the country to offer services bringing genomic medicine into clinical medicare. Armed with degrees in medical genomics from Stanford University and Harvard Medical School respectively, they say they took a leap of faith two years ago to set up their clinic in the city.
“There is enough data at the genetic level of humans to help modern medicine become more precise,” says Dr. Hima Challa. “There is very strong objective evidence for this.”
The challenge for them was to translate molecular biology level data into medical language. A team of molecular biologists armed with advanced degrees dug deep into published research and after studying thousands of research papers, gathered data on around 8,000 genes and switched what each of them does and what that means in medical language. “For example, the gene that regulates glycogen provides information on how glucose is released when needed by the body. If there are disorders associated with this, this can be determined by genetic studies. If a person is prone to this problem, then advise can be given that he or she needs to consume carbohydrates before exercises or workouts so energy is available for these tasks,” Dr. Hima Challa explained.
Genomic medicine helps in determining risk scores for various possible health conditions and these scores remain more or less stable throughout one’s life. Clinical risk scores can change, and can be changed for the better based on follow up advice from physicians, especially when coupled with knowledge of the genetic risk scores, she says.
“Our view is that personalized medicine is the future. Patients will be in a position, when their doctors have the assistance of genomic medicine, to be assured that they are in a position to achieve the best possible outcomes for their treatment,” says Dr. Kalyan Uppuluri.
Medicines of the future will evolve based on genomics, he predicts. “We see this already in oncology, for treating cancers. Genomics is already helping in attacking this disease’s pathways,” he says.
On what the future holds, he says that they see their clinic offering their products based on algorithms developed based on genetic information they have complied as well as from their patients so far, to support clinics and hospitals. If clinical medicine is combined with genomic medicine and with proper follow-ups by patients, the treatment outcomes will be much better, help patients overcome their disease, and help their doctors prescribe protocols that can better combat their conditions, he says.