Personalized medicine, which involves tailoring health care to each person’s unique genetic makeup, has the potential to transform how we diagnose, prevent and treat disease. After all, no two people are alike. Mapping a person’s unique susceptibility to disease and targeting the right treatment has deservedly been welcomed as a new power to heal.
The human genome, a complete set of human DNA, was identified and mapped a decade ago. But genomic science remains in its infancy. According to Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, “It is fair to say that the Human Genome Project has not yet directly affected the health care of most individuals.”
It’s not that there haven’t been tremendous breakthroughs. It’s just that the gap between science and its ability to benefit most patients remains wide. This is mainly because we don’t yet fully understand the complex pathways involved in common chronic diseases.