There is a lot of overlap between the terms "precision medicine" and "personalized medicine." According to the National Research Council, "personalized medicine" is an older term with a meaning similar to "precision medicine." However, there was concern that the word "personalized" could be misinterpreted to imply that treatments and preventions are being developed uniquely for each individual; in precision medicine, the focus is on identifying which approaches will be effective for which patients based on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The Council therefore preferred the term "precision medicine" to "personalized medicine." However, some people still use the two terms interchangeably.
When it comes to whole genome sequences, the uncertainties about outcomes are that much greater, but sequencing is getting cheaper all the time. In January, Illumina, a genetic-sequencing company based in San Diego, announced it had a new system that brought the cost for sequencing a human genome down to less than $1,000. (That’s cheaper than Jolie’s single BRCA1 test.) This doesn’t put a sequencer in your local doctor’s office — nor does it cover the cost of interpreting those results — but it does make it feasible for clinicians and researchers to gather the evidence needed to push personalized medicine over the tipping point.
The NHGRI Genomic Medicine Working Group (GMWG) has been gathering expert stakeholders in a series of g enomic medicine meetings to discuss issues surrounding the adoption of genomic medicine. Particularly, the GMWG draws expertise from researchers at the cutting edge of this new medical toolset, with the aim of better informing future translational research at NHGRI. Additionally the working group provides guidance to the National Advisory Council on Human Genome Research (NACHGR) and NHGRI in other areas of genomic medicine implementation, such as outlining infrastructural needs for adoption of genomic medicine, identifying related efforts for future collaborations, and reviewing progress overall in genomic medicine implementation.