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A More Personal Touch
Emily Fox and Katie Shea
Emily Fox, Age: 35, Born: Windsor, Heart disease: Mitral valve prolapse, Diagnosed: June 2018, Treatment: Medication Katie Shea, Age: 42, Born: Ottawa, Heart disease: Dilated cardiomyopathy, Diagnosed:November 2018, Treatment: Defibrillator implant and medication

Thanks to artificial intelligence and a greater focus on personalized and precision medicine, patients will soon receive custom treatments tailored to them.

Emily Fox and Katie Shea have a lot in common. They’re young, hardworking and active — and they also both have heart disease. On the outside, they’re strikingly similar, but on the inside, at the very cellular level, they are completely different.

These differences matter. Right now, two people could arrive at the hospital and get diagnosed with heart disease, yet one might respond well to treatment, while the other does not. One person could be discharged from the hospital the next day, while the other, despite receiving the same treatment, could require immediate transfer to the intensive care unit and die within days. “It’s hard to understand why patients respond so differently to the same treatment,” says Dr. Phyllis Billia, Director of Research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre.