Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Time for One-Person Research Trials

Recognition that physicians need to take individual variability into account is driving huge interest in ‘precision’ medicine ... Classical clinical trials harvest a handful of measurements from thousands of people. Precision medicine requires different ways of testing interventions. Researchers need to probe the myriad factors—genetic and environmental, among others—that shape a person’s response to a particular treatment. Studies that focus on a single person—known as N-of-1 trials—will be a crucial part of the mix ... If enough data are collected over a sufficiently long time, and appropriate control interventions are used, the trial participant can be confidently identified as a responder or non-responder to a treatment. Aggregated results of many N-of-1 trials (all carried out in the same way) will offer information about how to better treat subsets of the population or even the population at large. more

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