The basis of precision medicine, also at times referred to as personalised medicine, is the relationship between genetic factors and disease. Researchers and clinicians, in theory, can use genetic data to develop therapies tailored for individual patients.
However, nearly two decades after dramatic predictions that data from the Human Genome Project would completely transform the prevention and treatment of disease by now, personalised medicine has failed to live up to the hype. As the expected value of genetics-based medicine has failed to materialise, two medical scientists in the U.S. now seek a realignment of public health research priorities.
They also note that the idea of developing personalised gene therapies against common diseases has been largely abandoned, and that early successes of genetic screening and gene therapies – developed at great expense – have been limited to a few very rare, niche conditions.
"Nearly two decades after the first predictions of dramatic success, we find no impact of the human genome project on the population’s life expectancy or any other public health measure," they say, adding however that the promotion of precision medicine continues unabated. In view of the limitations of the precision medicine narrative, the two doctors emphasise that it is time for the biomedical research community to "reconsider its ongoing obsession" with genomic medicine and "reassess its research priorities" including funding to more closely align with the current public health needs.
Source: Chemistry World
Joyner MJ and Paneth N (2019) Promises, promises, and precision medicine. J Clin Invest., DOI: 10.1172/jci126119
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