Personalized Medicine & New Technologies

For most of the history of medicine, doctors relied on their senses — mainly vision, hearing, and touch — to diagnose illness and monitor a patient’s condition.

NIH’s century-long investment in research has helped to transform medical diagnostics. Today’s new technologies allow doctors to gather increasingly detailed information about the progression and treatment of disease and even offer personalized treatment based on a patient’s genes.

NIH-funded scientists not only helped to pioneer the development of MRI, they’ve also made significant advances toward uncovering the medical potential of stem cells and developed new tools for genome sequencing. With these advanced technologies, scientists are learning more about how genes affect our health, and how a genetic approach can help doctors customize treatments and prevention strategies for individual patients. Millions of people have already been touched by the era of personalized medicine that has grown directly from this research, and the field is still in its infancy.

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Close-up of a label with an image of DNA being applied to a bottle of pills.

Personalized Medicine

NIH research is working hard to solve the puzzle of how genes and lifestyle connect to affect our lives and our health.

Stem cell cultures.

Stem Cells

Stem cell research holds great promise for biomedical science — from helping us better understand how diseases develop and spread, to serving as accurate screens for new drugs, to developing cell-based therapies for conditions that affect millions of Americans.

Health care professionals scanning a child’s eye with a hand-held probe, along with a high-resolution image of a child’s healthy retina (inset).


NIH is developing new imaging technologies to help Americans live longer, healthier lives.

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This page last reviewed on September 14, 2015