Precision medicine is a big step in the right direction

Re “ ‘Moonshot’ Medicine Will Let Us Down” (Op-Ed, Jan. 29):

Michael J. Joyner asserts that precision medicine, an exciting field of research that combines genomics and digital data to target treatments for diseases, “is unlikely to make most of us healthier.” We think he’s wrong.

Precision medicine aims to pinpoint the handful of genes that actually drive disease. For example, scientists are identifying specific genes that drive tumor growth and are developing drugs to target those mutations. About 5 percent of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have ALK mutations and can benefit from treatment with Xalkori. Much progress has already occurred to make the treatment of disease more precise, and the genetic frontier is still wide open.

Precision medicine takes into account a variety of individual risk factors, including genetics and the undeniable impact of a person’s lifestyle choices and environment. If tailoring treatments to specific patients is a “moonshot,” then it’s one that will stimulate innovation, enrich our understanding of disease and save lives.

Read full, original article: Using Genetics to Improve Medicine

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