Personalized medicine in influenza: a bridge too far or the near future?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Personalized medicine is based on understanding mechanisms of disease and putting this in the context of an individual patient, which eventually helps to guide tailored diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. In this review we focus on one pulmonary infection that has major impact on society, namely influenza, and highlight the way we think personalized medicine could have an impact on the outcome of this pulmonary infection.

Recent findings

When a patient's defect is known, one could envision that restoring this defect in addition to the standard treatment regimen might result in a better clinical outcome. By highlighting the way one can explore mechanisms of disease, the recent progress in understanding influenza and its complications, and clinical observations, we have written a hypothesis-driven review that underscores in our opinion the way we could think about personalized medicine and realize its translation to the clinics.

Summary

This strategy will identify essential mechanisms that cause disease, design simple functional tests that have the ability to identify defects in these relevant mechanisms in individual patients, and explore targeted therapy to restore these defects, ideally with existing drugs.

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