Prevent & treat differently

For centuries in Europe, medicine has been marked by a “curative” approach that has increased the life expectancy of patients by about fifty years over the twentieth century. We are now in the era of 21st century “4P” medicine: personalized, predictive and participatory preventive medicine. In particular, e-mental health (digital health) and genomics make it possible to envisage complementary approaches and accelerating hopes of progress.

Genetics paved the way for this new approach in the 2000s: the identification of the genetic profile of patients made it possible to prescribe more targeted, therefore more effective drugs: “The right drug, to the right person, at the right time”, without however this revolution taking root in the practice of all medical specialties. Moreover, this customisation does not mean that drugs are created for a single individual. Rather, it translates into the ability to classify individuals into sub-populations characterised by predisposition to certain diseases or by response to a particular treatment. This concerns both preventive and therapeutic measures.

Medicine tends to consider the individual as a whole: a mind/body thinking and interacting with its environment. It is thus a matter of adjusting a treatment according to the individual characteristics of each patient. Therefore, we define “4P” medicine as :

  • Personalised: everyone is unique, we are interested in the personal profile of the individual (genetic, environmental, etc.).
  • Preventive: health education aims to reduce the risk of disease (primary prevention), promote early detection (secondary prevention) and improve the quality of life of the sick (tertiary prevention). “Wellness” is at the centre of these different processes.
  • Predictive: by establishing a personalised mapping of the risk factors and protective elements of a person’s health, the risk of developing a disease can be assessed and the most appropriate drug and other treatments proposed.
  • Participatory: patients are the actors of their own health and care. They are now considered “expert patients”, with theoretical knowledge and subjective knowledge derived from experience of their disorders.

This approach applied to psychiatry is original and innovative, it is at the heart of the scientific programme of Fondation FondaMental Suisse and the initial results are exciting.

(sources:, mps4 & PCast)