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March 18, 2019

Precision Preventive Medicine—Ready for Prime Time?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Senior Editor, JAMA
  • 3Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(5):605-606. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0142

Personalized medicine is not a new concept. Physicians have long aspired to treat each patient as an individual, recognizing distinct biological factors, including genetics, and social factors that affect susceptibility to disease, treatment responses, and adherence to therapies. Well before the availability of genomics and other ‘omics tests (ie, big data technologies), treatment approaches based on individual differences between patients, such as cholesterol measurements, blood pressure, smoking history, family history, and other clinical findings, were used to devise personalized treatments.1

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    1 Comment for this article
    Thank goodness for the USPSTF and NICE
    Winton Gibbons, MBA | Industry consultant
    As you point out, somebody needs to do the math. In this case, not only does the math not add up, but it is woefully inadequate. In addition to the poor C-statistic, testing and treatment costs, and prevalence need to be considered. Ill-advised overused of (expensive) genetic testing will not only disillusion the medical profession and patients, but will crowd out higher performing and existing valuable tests.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Various life science industry clients.