Precision Medicine

  • 04, 03, 2021

According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, precision medicine is "an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person."

Doctors and researchers will be able to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention methods for a specific illness will function with which groups of people using this method. It differs from a one-size-fits-all approach, in which disease treatment and prevention methods are designed for the average person with less consideration for the differences between individuals.

Although the term "precision medicine" is relatively new, the concept has been a part of healthcare for many years. For example, a person who needs a blood transfusion is not given blood from a randomly selected donor; instead, the donor’s blood type is matched to the recipient to reduce the risk of complications. Although examples can be found in several areas of medicine, the role of precision medicine in day-to-day healthcare is relatively limited. Researchers hope that this approach will expand to many areas of health and healthcare in coming years.

There is a lot of overlap between the terms "precision medicine" and "personalized medicine." According to the National Research Council, "personalized medicine" is an older term with a meaning similar to "precision medicine."

However, there was concern that the word "personalized" could be misinterpreted to imply that treatments and preventions are being developed uniquely for each individual; precision medicine focuses on identifying which approaches will be effective for which patients based on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. As a result, the Council preferred the term "precision medicine" to "personalized medicine." Some people, however, still use the two terms interchangeably.

Source: medlineplus.gov

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