Skip to main content
Home » Advocacy » Introducing Personalized Medicine
Edward Abrahams

Edward Abrahams

President, Personalized Medicine Coalition

When it comes to medicine, one size does not fit all. Treatments that help some patients are ineffective for others, and the same medicine may cause side effects in only certain patients.

But because scientists have historically had no tools to examine the molecules in diseased and healthy cells that cause these differing responses to treatments, physicians are usually forced to prescribe whichever series of medications works for the most patients with any given disease, leaving patients with a frustrating trial-and-error process that fails to help everyone and has adverse side effects for some.

This has begun to change. With the help of genomic sequencing technologies, advanced computing power, and ongoing discoveries about the biologic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of disease and the effectiveness of various treatments for certain patients, health care professionals have begun to use diagnostic tests to assess which treatments will work best for each patient.

Researchers have discovered new techniques and therapies for treating many diseases, including cancer and rare diseases. These new tests and treatments promise to improve care for patients and make health care systems around the world more efficient.

This rapidly evolving field is called personalized medicine. By combining the data from the tests underpinning personalized medicine with an individual’s medical history, circumstances, and values, health care providers can develop targeted prevention and treatment plans.

Researchers studying personalized medicine hope that their work will help advance a new era in health care that quickly markets to more effective treatments to patients who will benefit from them and avoids prescribing treatments to those who won’t.

Next article