What is the precision medicine?
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." This approach will allow doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people. It is in contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed 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.
What is the Precision Medicine Initiative?The Precision Medicine Initiative is a long-term research endeavor, involving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and multiple other research centers, which aims to understand how a person's genetics, environment, and lifestyle can help determine the best approach to prevent or treat disease.
The Precision Medicine Initiative has both short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals involve expanding precision medicine in the area of cancer research. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hope to use an increased knowledge of the genetics and biology of cancer to find new, more effective treatments for various forms of this disease. The long-term goals of the Precision Medicine Initiative focus on bringing precision medicine to all areas of health and healthcare on a large scale. To this end, the NIH has launched a study, known as the All of Us Research Program, which involves a group (cohort) of at least 1 million volunteers from around the United States. Participants are providing genetic data, biological samples, and other information about their health. To encourage open data sharing, participants can access their health information, as well as research that uses their data, during the study. Researchers can use these data to study a large range of diseases, with the goals of better predicting disease risk, understanding how diseases occur, and finding improved diagnosis and treatment strategies.