For centuries, healthcare providers strive to create a plan to keep their patients at peak health. Technology has come a long way to provide more tools with precision medicine and personalized medicine. What is the difference between these two concepts though? Or is there any difference?
Precision medicine is a relatively new approach to treating diseases and disorders in people. By using genetic testing, lifestyle, and environment, doctors can create a plan to treat and prevent diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Most of what precision medicine relies upon is genetic research of not just a singular person, but entire subsets. Genomics data is still a relatively new tool for doctor’s to use, but it has already produced more reliable information on how diseases work demographically. Furthermore, with genetic testing becoming cheaper and more easily accessible, researchers are continuously discovering what genomics data can uncover regarding medical treatment and prevention.
Personalized medicine refers primarily to the information a personal physician would acquire, such as past illnesses, family history, age, weight, lifestyle, etc. Personalized means a health care plan is geared more towards a specific plan for a specific person.
However, this definition can be construed incorrectly. Some people erroneously believe it means that medicines are uniquely created for the person as well. This simply is not true. While medications will be chosen specifically for the condition or conditions a person has, no medicine is uniquely created for their plan.
What is the Difference?
In past years, personalized medicine and precision medicine were used interchangeably. It has only been recently that experts have been debating over whether or not they should be separate terms. Some experts and associations don’t believe it matters because their definitions are similar.
There is a growing number of experts. However, that believe it does matter for one reason: genetics. Genomics data is the one thing that truly sets precision medicine apart from personalized medicine. But while the boundaries of genomic data are still being discovered, some still believe the differences aren’t all that different.
The takeaway of all this is while personalized medicine and precision medicine are very similar medical tools in treatment, there are differences. Precision medicine relies on genetic data while personalized medicine relies on your personal family history and lifestyle. Whether this is enough to consider them entirely different tools, however, is still up for debate.