Precision medicine at The Christ Hospital

Your genetic profile can reveal how your body will respond to certain treatments and medications. Precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, is a groundbreaking approach that matches patients with the treatment that will work best for them, based on their unique genetic make-up. The concept is not new. But in recent years, precision medicine has grown rapidly, thanks to advancements in genetic testing and science. 

At The Christ Hospital, we are making precision medicine a priority to help people experience better health. Burns C. Blaxall, PhD, is our program director of Precision Medicine. Dr. Blaxall works with our physicians and clinical teams to expand The Christ Hospital’s precision medicine offerings.

"Precision medicine is revolutionizing health care by harnessing the power of personal DNA and data to provide increasingly individualized clinical care. It essentially allows us to be more proactive than reactive when treating patients."
Burns Blaxall, PhD, Director of Precision Medicine

What is precision medicine?

The same disease can affect individuals differently. Reasons for this are complex, but genes play an important role. Precision medicine aims to understand how genes and environment can affect individual responses. 

Genetic testing is an important part of precision medicine. These tests help doctors understand your inherited risk for specific diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and many rare disorders. They can also help determine individual responses to medications. Doctors can use the test results and other information such as medical history to decide which therapies are likely to be the most effective for an individual patient. Some of these therapies can target the genetic mutation itself. 

Precision medicine can also help people understand their risk factors for certain diseases before they get sick. For example, if you have a strong family history of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend a genetic test to see if you have a mutation that is associated with the disease. If so, those test results could give you the chance to act. Working with your doctor, you could develop a disease prevention and early detection plan. And that could save your life. 

What does all this mean for you? Access to personalized care that can meet your specific needs, and may lead to a better health outcome.

Precision medicine at The Christ Hospital Health Network

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we offer precision medicine and genetic testing for patients with cancer and people with a strong family history of cancer.  We are also growing our ability to utilize genetic testing to more accurately tailor individual and combination therapies to ensure right drug, right dose and right time.  In the near future, we will provide these services for certain heart diseases and mental health conditions, as well as a broad Women's Health initiative, including pre-conception and prenatal screenings for some genetic disorders. 

Scientists are discovering more about the link between genetics and disease all the time. Experts at The Christ Hospital Health Network are always seeking the most effective genetic tests and precision medicine services for our patients. It's all part of our commitment to providing the people of Greater Cincinnati with the most comprehensive, innovative care available.

How genetic counselors can help

Genetic counselors at The Christ Hospital Health Network work closely with doctors to select the tests that will be most helpful to each individual. These highly trained counselors educate patients and their families about genetic testing, guide them through the testing process and help them make informed healthcare choices based on their results.

Learn more about genetic counseling at The Christ Hospital Health Network

Learning more about your risk for cancer

An individual's risk of developing specific types of cancer can be related to his/her family history as well as lifestyle choices. To help people determine their individual risk of cancer, The Christ Hospital established the High Risk Cancer Screening Clinic. In a single visit to the high risk cancer screening clinic, an individual will meet with both a genetic counselor and an Advanced Practice provider to discuss cancer risk based on family history. In the meeting, they will advise about:

  • Risk of developing specific types of cancer based on family history

  • Genetic tests that provide more information about risk of certain types of cancer

  • The testing process and the limitations and accuracy of genetic tests

  • Emotional, psychological and social consequences of knowing the test results

  • Cancer screening, monitoring and prevention options

  • Nutrition and lifestyle counseling for risk reduction focused on diet, weight loss and exercise

  • Diagnostic and treatment options

  • Privacy of genetic information

  • Talking with family members about cancer risk

Learn more about our High Risk Cancer Screening Clinic or call 513-585-3275.

Learn more about precision medicine

For more information about precision medicine at The Christ Hospital Health Network, please call 513-585-3275. We can connect you with one of our genetic counselors, who can talk to you about your family health history, personal health history and goals for genetic testing. 

Genetic testing is available with or without a referral. If you would like to schedule genetic testing, please call 513-585-3275.