The Promise of Precision Medicine

Historically, doctors have had to make most recommendations about disease prevention and treatment based on the expected response of an average patient.  This one-size-fits-all approach works well for some patients and some conditions, but not so much for others. Precision medicine is an innovative approach that takes into account individual differences in patients’ genes, environments, and lifestyles.  Millions of people have already been touched by the area of precision medicine that has grown directly from biomedical research.

Precision Oncology

Researchers are now identifying the molecular fingerprints of various cancers and using them to divide cancer’s once-broad categories into far more precise types and subtypes.

Cancer Immunotherapy

Decades of NIH research has led to several types of cancer immunotherapy drugs.


A significant goal of precision medicine is to implement this strategy broadly in medical care – focusing on the right drug at the right dose at the right time for the right patient.

Rare Diseases

Rare diseases were once considered medical curiosities with little public-health impact. But though such diseases are individually rare, collectively an estimated 25 to 30 million Americans are affected.

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This page last reviewed on November 16, 2023