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Twenty-First Century Personalization of Health Care


The public perception of “personalized medicine” is askew: the term is often viewed as a common treatment option for rare genetic disorders. The truth is that the power of genetic and genomic information allows physicians to offer personalized health care to their patients.

Yet personalized health care is not new: ABO blood typing is a superb example of widespread genetics-based personalized healthcare dating back to World War II, and continues to have universal applicability and will for centuries to come.

Consider a more recent example: common associations for breast cancer accounts for almost three percent of all breast cancers whereas a “rare mutation” (BRCA1-2) alone accounts for 10 percent of all breast cancers. There are currently at least nine other breast cancer predisposing genes which help knowledgeable healthcare providers make the correct diagnosis and inform patients of risks of other cancers.

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