personalized medicine vs precision medicine

the growing understanding of genetics and genomics, how they drive health, disease and drug response in each person has created a pathway for precision medicine, moving away from the traditional one size fits all approach to medicine, to a more precise, predictable and cost-effective healthcare system. tailoring care based on each patient’s individual genetic make up to provide better disease prevention, more accurate diagnoses, appropriate treatment plans, and better drug development is the basis for personalized medicine or precision medicine. both terms get used to essentially define the same thing, but is there a difference between the two?

there are differing view points on this – 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.”

according to wikipedia, precision medicine [PM] is a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to the individual patient. in this model, diagnostic testing [molecular or biomarker testing] is often employed for selecting appropriate and optimal therapies based on the context of a patient’s genetic content or other molecular or cellular analysis.

tools employed in PM can include molecular diagnostics, imaging, and analytics/software. some define personalized medicine as encompassing the whole picture for decision making. and some stakeholders are starting to prefer the term “precision medicine” instead of “personalized medicine” to describe the use of data and genomics to tailor treatments to specific groups. either way, precision or personalized medicine, the financial, clinical and social impact personalized or precision medicine will have in cancer care is indisputable.