what is precision medicine?

traditionally cancer patients with a specific type and stage of cancer all received the same treatment. but not every patient with cancer responds to these treatments in the same way: what works for one person may not work for others. with the introduction of precision medicine [PM], patients can be treated based on their unique molecular and genetic profile, guiding the treatment pathway and ensuring more successful outcomes. this approach allows clinicians to go beyond the one size fits all model of prescribing, and to make effective clinical decisions for each patient.

the european commission defined [2015] personalized medicine [PM] as

“a model of medicine that uses the molecular profile [phenotypes and genotypes] for tailoring the right therapeutic strategy for the right person at the right time, and | or to determine the predisposition to disease and | or to deliver timely and targeted prevention”.

precision medicine has the potential to change the way we think about, identify and manage cancer care utilizing genomics, big data analytics, and population health. the impact on both clinical research and patient care will grow as our understanding and technologies improve and personalized or precision medicine and biomarkers will transform the delivery of cancer care to benefit both patients and cancer care systems. precision medicine is also rapidly impacting how drugs are discovered and developed; how patients are diagnosed and treated; and how health care delivery is channeling its resources to maximize patient benefits. precision medicine is also having an important impact in clinical care, the great potential to improve the quality of patient care and to help contain health care costs. precision medicine should be directed at individual patients through the practice of medicine rather than through regulatory action.

working in collaboration, we can greatly improve access to precision or targeted medicines and biomarkers; therefore during precision medicine awareness month the cancer collaborative is calling for 1- a flexible regulatory framework that accelerates access to precision medicines and molecular testing 2- encouraging policies that invest in and support the use of precision medicines, biomarkers, and molecular testing 3- and education on the potential effectiveness and efficiency precision medicine and biomarkers can make in our health care system 4-inform patients about all available treatment options and help them be empowered to make the best decisions for their health, together with their healthcare team.