What is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine is targeted, individualized care that is tailored to each patient based on his or her specific genetic profile and medical history. Unlike in traditional one-size-fits-all medicine, practitioners of precision medicine use genomic sequencing tools to interrogate a patient’s entire genome to locate the specific genetic alterations that have given rise to and are driving his or her tumor. With this information they can identify small molecule drugs, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and other therapies that are most precisely targeted and are therefore most effective and have the fewest side effects.
Precision medicine can be helpful to patients at different stages of disease. In patients with advanced disease who no longer respond to available therapies and lack treatment options, genomic analyses of tumor tissue may isolate the causes of drug resistance and highlight therapies with a better likelihood of success. Precision medicine can also allow physician-scientists to identify a patient’s risk before diseases develop, and enable them to take steps toward prevention through medical treatment, lifestyle modification or both. Precision medicine is an exciting, emerging field that is transforming the existing paradigm for diagnosing and treating patients with many types of disease.