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What is Precision Cancer Medicine?
Most medical treatments are designed for the "average patient" as a "one-size-fits-all-approach," which may be successful for some patients but not for others. Precision medicine, sometimes known as "personalized medicine" is an innovative approach to tailoring disease prevention and treatment that takes into account differences in people's genes, environments, and lifestyles. The goal of precision medicine is to target the right treatments to the right patients at the right time.
Advances in precision medicine have already led to powerful new discoveries and several new FDA-approved treatments that are tailored to specific characteristics of individuals, such as a person's genetic makeup, or the genetic profile of an individual's tumor. Patients with a variety of cancers routinely undergo molecular testing as part of patient care, enabling physicians to select treatments that improve chances of survival and reduce exposure to adverse effects.
To further these advances, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 encourages the FDA to develop new regulatory approaches for the oversight of genomic technologies as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative. The Precision Medicine Initiative seeks to identify genetically-based drivers of disease in order to develop new, more effective treatments.
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Tests
Precision care will only be as good as the tests that guide diagnosis and treatment. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests are capable of rapidly identifying or 'sequencing' large sections of a person's genome and are important advances in the clinical applications of precision medicine. Patients, physicians and researchers can use these tests to find genetic variants that help them diagnose, treat, and understand more about human disease.