Dr. Ojo, associate vice president for Clinical Research and Global Health Initiatives at the University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS), discussed the significance of Precision Medicine efforts, saying it’s a concept that has been percolating for 20 years, but is now coming to fruition.
The reasons Precision Medicine’s time has arrived, he said, is that costs to analyze individual genomes have dropped considerably, electronic health records have made large amounts of data available to researchers and most U.S. adults have mobile phones, which allow them to use new technologies such as wearable sensors that can measure heart health, blood pressure and glucose levels.
“Precision medicine is a way of treating and preventing disease that takes into account variability among individuals’ genetic foundation in their environment, lifestyle and behavior,” he said.
Everyone will benefit from discoveries made through Precision Medicine, because the focus is on an individual patient’s genes, Dr. Ojo said.
But he warned that those involved in health sciences must be careful to be inclusive of everyone, and not exclude certain populations.
Advancing Precision Medicine requires an effective collaborative organization “so that we go away completely from the era of one size fits all and use medicine in a way that takes into account individual variation,” Dr. Ojo said.
The topic of this year’s AZBio Expo focused on how the convergence of information technology and life sciences is driving innovations in health and health care delivery.
In addition to Dr. Ojo’s keynote address, students from various Arizona colleges and universities presented their research during a Student Discovery Showcase, including 16 students from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Ojo joined UAHS in January and serves as a professor of Medicine in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson with a joint appointment as professor of Health Promotion Sciences in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.