Future of Medical Tourism Growth - Genomics, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicines

Genomics is going to set a new benchmark in treatment approach profoundly enhancing the well-being of the patients at a much-reduced cost. The treatment action plan based on genome profiles of patients leads towards personalized medicine or precision medicine saving the patients from unnecessary medication toxicity and ineffective treatment decisions.

Quality medical care at a fraction cost has been the big driver of medical tourism and with more accessibility to affordable genetic testing, there would be a dramatic improvement in patient experience with substantial reduction of treatment cost and clinic visits.

How Genomics is changing the one-size-fits-for-all treatment approach?

Our genes contain a lot of information decoding of which can predict our predisposition towards certain ailments. Proper preventive measures and timely detection can make a huge difference in our longevity and quality of life.

Non-communicable diseases like cancer and cardiovascular ailments are leading killer diseases. Adverse drug reactions and ineffective medications contribute to huge financial drainage. These issues can be tackled properly with personalized medicine.

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Just as no two human beings are of the same nature their genetic content cannot be also similar. One drug effective in one patient may not give the similar outcome with another patient. Therefore, the genetic profile of a patient can matter a lot in treatment decisions leading to better drug efficacy and improved treatment outcomes.

The advent of Genomics in the modern cure pathway has turned into a matter of international competition with the rising acceptance of this novel discipline. Many developed and developing nations are mobilizing funds to support high-end technological solutions in this emerging field to build a strong reputation in precision medicine to increase their share in medical tourism market.

If advanced medical care at a fractional cost is the prime motivator for global medical tourists, now it is the popularity of personalized medicine which is turning out to be an added factor.

Genetic testing for cancer continues to take precedence:

The rising incidence of cancer cases in the world along with the shooting of treatment costs has fuelled the popularity of precision medicine mainly in cancer treatment. This is aimed not only for treatment but also as a preventive measure to avoid future health disasters.

According to the Medical Tourism Association Report of Global Buyer Survey, a significant percentage of medical travelers are seeking beyond the border cancer treatments. Cancer in the US is a big health crisis and is the second leading cause of death where the patients end up in paying a heavy price. The treatment cost with latest cancer medication may cross $100,000 per year for each patient, which is much higher than other western countries projecting a similar GDP.

The median monthly price of a patent-protected cancer drug is much higher in the US about $8700 compared to $2600 in the UK and $2700 in Australia. Therefore, cost-effective precision medicine available in other countries may prevent the patients from going through toxic treatments in home country and also offer them a better experience within a short time.

Opportunities for precision medicine market:

Asia-pacific region offers a great market for genomics-based precision medicine as more than 50% of the global aged population above 65 years of age resides in this part of the world. Cancer contributes a larger part of healthcare concern in this burgeoning aging population.

Therefore, it is quite expected that Asians would seek improved cost effective treatments where precision medicine can make a significant contribution. Rising government spending on medical tourism and rapid advancements in biomedical technology are helping India and China emerge as strong players in precision medicine market.

Precision medicine cancer drug market till date is dominated by the US and Europe. In Asia Pacific, it is Japan that commands the personalized cancer drug market contributed by the large pool of cancer patients and fast developing health infrastructure. Other potential markets in personalized cancer treatments are Mexico, Brazil, Russia and South Africa, which are also highly reputed medical tourism destinations.

Destinations emerging in genomic medicine:

Hong Kong:

A report published in China Daily says that Hong Kong is set to be one of the prime medical tourism destinations in precision medicine where affordable genetic testing can cover millions of patients under personalized medicine offering them a better cure.

Hong Kong’s well developed medical biotechnology sector is providing the country a competitive edge offering comprehensive genetic testing using cutting-edge technology.


Thailand, another leading medical tourism destination in Asia Pacific is investing heavily on genomic medicine to provide improved cost-effective healthcare system.

The country with the maximum number of JCI accredited hospitals than any other country in this part of Asia occupies the largest share of Asian medical tourism market followed by India and Singapore. Therefore, it is quite likely that the government would go all out to develop precision medicine and lower the treatment cost by few more degrees.

It is mention worthy that Thailand is hosting the upcoming 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Human Genetics on Nov’17 encouraging the young scientists and students in further research on human genetics share knowledge and information on this fast emerging medical discipline.


Malaysia, the country making great strides in medical tourism is also coming up with innovations in precision medicine. Last year, the Sunway University hosted the International Symposium on Precision Medicine inviting world’s highest echelons in biomedicine to explore the future implications of this medicine in this part of the world.


India, another leading Asian medical tourism destination is also stressing on Genomics offering genetic testing services in 13 premier cities where medical travelers crowd most to avail advanced treatments. Genetic studies in India have evolved since last 30 years with the expansion of services all over the country.

The rising significance of cytogenetics and molecular genetics in diagnosis and treatment management of certain cancers have spurted the growth genetic diagnostic and counseling services in the country manned by qualified medical geneticists.

These are just a few examples. The application of Genomics is still in the nascent stage but it is the pharmacogenomic applications that may be the future game changer in the medical tourism landscape.

Naturally, countries coming up fast in genetic testing providing an affordable precision medicine package would get hold of a bigger share of the medical tourism pie

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life-improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 45 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns, operates and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography. Please visit him at https://drprem.com/

Read more interesting articles

Genomed – a growing trend in corporate wellness

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