What is the difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine? What about pharmacogenomics?
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; in precision medicine, the focus is on identifying which approaches will be effective for which patients based on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The Council therefore preferred the term “precision medicine” to “personalized medicine.” However, some people still use the two terms interchangeably.
Pharmacogenomics is a part of precision medicine. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to particular drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to variations in a person’s genes.
Read more about precision medicine, personalized medicine, and pharmacogenomics:
A 2011 report from the National Research
Council (downloadable as a PDF) provides a detailed overview of precision medicine, including the reasoning behind the Council’s preference for the term “precision medicine” over “personalized medicine.”
The journal Nature Medicine published an article on this topic called “Momentum grows to make ‘personalized’ medicine more ‘precise’”.
Genetics Home Reference provides an introduction to pharmacogenomics. Additional information about
pharmacogenomics is available from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
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