Personalised medicine tailor-made to have the greatest efficacy on individual animals could be available to vets in 10 years, a leading academic has said.

PCR analysis
Designer medicines and genomic profiling could be a standard part of the vet’s toolbox in years to come. Image: science photo / Fotolia.

John Harding, professor in swine production medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said designer medicines and genomics could be a standard part of the vet’s toolbox, helping them to tailor treatment for specific animals and fight antimicrobial resistance.

One size doesn’t fit all

Prof Harding said: “If you look at the way we vaccinate in the swine industry, companion animal and livestock sectors, it really is a case of one size fits all.

“I think we have to be more cognisant of the fact one animal is not the same as the next. Genetically, we are all made different, and for good reason, but with that comes problems with vaccine response, as well as opportunities for improvement. The vet has to understand [animals in the] barn are heterogeneous… and we have to change our strategies to accommodate the differences.”

One solution being developed at research level is genomic profiling, whereby researchers perform genotyping on blood samples to try to work out if an animal’s genome is related to its susceptibility or resistance to particular disease or overall disease resilience.

Revolutionising disease control

It is hoped, in the future, all food-producing animals will have some sort of genomic profile accompanying their records, which will tell vets, farmers and traders how susceptible or resilient they are to various diseases.

As such, a vet could look at an animal’s genomic profile and tailor the treatment or vaccination strategy accordingly. The same principles could also be applied to companion animals.

“We are moving towards an era of personalised medicine,” Prof Harding said. “In human medicine, I think we understand what that means, but I don’t think we do in the livestock sector, but if we make use of it in a positive way… it will revolutionise the way we look at disease control and we need it because what we are doing is not enough.”

  • Read the full article in the 12 September issue of Veterinary Times.
View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz

related content

The RCVS has announced the winners of this year’s Queen’s Medal and Golden Jubilee Award – the highest honours the college can bestow on a veterinary surgeon and veterinary nurse.

4 mins

A leading veterinary dermatologist has called for vets to prescribe narrow-spectrum antibiotics for first-line cases of otitis externa to help reduce levels of multiple-resistant, chronic infections.

5 mins

A graduate programme to develop the next generation of vets is set to more than double its intake of recruits six months after launch.

4 mins

The European Medicines Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use has concluded that the benefit risk for veterinary medicines containing zinc oxide is negative.

3 mins

Sara Pedersen reviews the 2nd International Hoof Trimmers Conference, which took place at Legoland in Denmark.

16 mins

Jack Reece discusses the importance of student vets gaining job experience and how some colleges fail to prepare them.

18 mins