Personalized, Precision, Genomic — What To Call What We Do

In any fast-emerging field, it takes a while for the terminology to standardize. It’s no different in pharmacogenetics. There is no concensus on whether to call what PGXL does personalized medicine, precision medicine, genomic medicine or something else.Search Term Use Personalized Med 050615

That lack of standardization may be confusing the public.

Research shows the general public doesn’t have a clue so far about this new type of medicine. In a survey last year of 1,024 consumers, the Washington DC-based Personalized Medicine Coalition found that 6 in 10 respondents had not heard the term personalized medicine. Among those who had heard the term, only 2 in 10 felt well-informed about it.

Google Trends notes the surge of interest in “precision medicine” (shows above, in red) after President Obama used the term, but for the last few years the most popular term has been “personalized medicine.” (The blue line on the chart.) That’s the term we use most around PGXL, because it keeps the focus on the patient in ways that genomic/precision/molecular don’t. They’re perfectly good terms, we just prefer to keep it personal.

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Pharmacy Practice: Pharmacogenetics is Crucial

Pharmacy Practice News assesses the Personalized Medicine landscape and concludes that continued development and implementation of pharmacogenetic testing and decision support technologies is crucial:

“This really is a drug-related issue. It’s natural for pharmacy to take a leadership role,” said Julie Johnson, PharmD, the dean of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, and who led the launch of University of Florida’s pharmacogenomics program in 2012. “It’s pretty awesome that it’s risen on Obama’s radar,” she added. “It points to the vision that people are unique and that there are things we have to learn both from studies done on large populations and from teasing out differences in individuals.”

Evidence continues to underscore how variations in human genetic makeup may help explain differences in individual responses to treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS and depression, among other health conditions. To date, 138 drugs including codeine, proton pump inhibitors, abacavir (Ziagen, ViiV) and irinotecan now have genetic data in their FDA-approved product labeling.


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