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Introduction to Personalized Medicine

Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, is much in the news today. What is it, and why is it becoming increasingly important?

Personalized medicine is a new approach to healthcare. Until recently, patient care has been based on the general population, or a “one drug fits all” approach. Treating for the average person, however, can result in a complete cure or no response at all. Also, side effects to the treatment can vary from nonexistent to very severe.

Personalized medicine is now gaining prominence in healthcare as a result of advances in medical technologies. Leading the field is genome analysis, but also includes computational biology, medical imaging, and regenerative medicine. These technologies identify the unique characteristics of each individual, allowing for a more rational and effective means of diagnosis and treatment. Using the full potential of these technologies leads to a true application of personalized medicine.

In future postings of this blog, I will discuss various aspects of personalized medicine, starting with the human genome. Other topics will include the federal Precision Medicine Initiative, diseases currently treated by personalized medicine, drugs in the pipeline, and challenges faced in the implementation of personalized medicine.

Genetic engineering-Alexander Raths/