Precision Medicine and Pharmacogenomics – An Update

Today’s post is an update of “What is Personalized Medicine?” published in November 2015 on our Medical Terminology Blog. The change from personalized medicine to precision medicine is a “textbook” example of how Medical Language is ever-evolving!

The following is reprinted from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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.

Original Blog Post from November 2015

An Emerging Medical Practice

Personalized Medicine

Have you heard of personalized medicine and wondered “exactly what does it mean?” I have, so I researched it and this is what I found.

Personalized Medicine (PM) uses an individual’s genetic profile (information about genes, proteins, and environment) to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease by tailoring medical treatment to one’s characteristics, needs and preferences. It promises a future of early intervention, more efficient drug therapies, and customized treatment plans.

The term was first used in published works in 1999, but the core concepts were in existence since 1960. Personalized medicine, also called individualized medicine, or precision medicine is an emerging practice of medicine.

Read Other New Terms Posts >


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