A year ago the President announced the launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative to accelerate a new era of medicine that delivers the right treatment at the right time to the right person, taking into account individuals’ health history, genes, environments, and lifestyles.
Precision medicine is already transforming the way diseases like cancer and mental health conditions are treated. Molecular testing for cancer patients lets physicians and patients select treatments that improve chances of survival and reduce adverse effects. Genetic and other information can help identify the best depression drug for each patient and speed effective treatment, a critical advancement as patients often do not respond to the first drug they are prescribed. But more is needed. There are still far too many diseases for which there are no good treatments. Prevention approaches are not yet tailored to individuals’ lifestyles, genes, environment and preferences.