Henry Phillips (Health Awareness)
September 1, 2023
What started as a race against time for my daughter Mila, diagnosed at six with a rare, fatal condition, has turned into a movement to make individualised medicines a routine way of treating genetic diseases. Instead of one drug for tens of thousands, Mila’s story points to a future of tens of thousands of drugs for just one or a few. This offers an impactful solution for millions of children with rare and life-threatening genetic diseases and no effective treatments.
Science is no longer the barrier to individualised medicine
Today, we have the technology to find the underlying genetic cause of a patient’s disease and design a medicine to target it. Recent advancements in genomics are enabling earlier diagnosis and allowing maturing modalities like antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), siRNA, gene therapies and other RNA therapeutics to precisely correct distinct mutations.
A recent publication in the scientific journal ‘Nature’ by Dr Timothy Yu, pioneering designer of Mila’s medicine, indicates that individualised ASOs could potentially correct mutations in approximately 15% of children with ataxia-telangiectasia. If a similar statistic applies across genetic diseases and other programmable modalities come online, millions could benefit from this approach.
Despite these promising advancements, a clear, rapid and affordable pathway for this new paradigm is missing. Current regulatory requirements are disproportionately cumbersome and solely academic-focused, disincentivising companies from entering this field. It takes highly motivated families, clinicians and organisations with the ability to raise substantial philanthropic funds to develop these treatments — neither scalable nor sustainable.
Phillips, H. (n.d.). Individualised medicines offer hope for children with a rare disease. Health Awareness. https://www-healthawareness-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.healthawareness.co.uk/rare-diseases/individualised-medicines-offer-hope-for-children-with-a-rare-disease/amp/