What is Precision Medicine?

Precision Medicine refers to a medical approach in which diseases are diagnosed, prevented, and treated according to the context of each patient’s individual genetics, history, and lifestyle. Treatments are optimized and side effects are reduced, drastically reducing the overall cost of healthcare to society.  To be effective, Precision Medicine must be implemented across the whole healthcare system, giving healthcare professionals the ability to accurately measure specific predictors of patient outcomes. When the philosophy of Precision Medicine is implemented in the clinic, it’s referred to as Personalized Care.

In reality, doctors have been practicing Precision Medicine and delivering Personalized Care for many years.  High blood pressure, for example, is still measured because it’s a solid risk factor for vascular disease – one that usually responds to changes in lifestyle.

Combined with massive and rapid improvements in technology and decades of advances in science and medicine, the bioinformatics age has brought about an incredible number of biomarkers, each capable of informing diagnoses and directing treatments. It is now standard of care in breast cancer that circulating levels of Estrogen Receptor in the blood are measured so that anti-hormone therapies can be administered.  This is Precision Medicine in action.

Precision Medicine is intimately involved with the complexity of biology and disease though multi-scale analysis and systems biology, requiring large-scale data analytics, bioinformatics, computational biology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.