Precision medicine can be defined as personalized medicine enhanced by technology. In the past, medicine has, in some cases, been personalized. For example, some drugs are dosed on an individualized basis based on age, body-mass index, comorbidities and other clinical parameters. However, overall, medicine has largely followed the ‘one-size-fits-all' paradigm as exemplified in the treatment of essential hypertension or type 2 diabetes mellitus. What has changed in the past few years is that technologies such as high throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry, microfluidics, and imaging can help conduct a multitude of complex measurements on clinical samples. Aided by analytics, these technologies have been providing an increasingly detailed picture of molecular and cellular alterations underlying numerous diseases and have revealed tremendous variability between individuals and patients at the molecular and cellular level. These findings have motivated a more personalized or ‘precision' approach to medicine, in which molecular and cellular markers help tailor patient management to each individual. Here we provide an overview of the key factors driving adoption of precision medicine and highlight current research that may soon make precision medicine more predictive.

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