Opinion: Personalized medicine goes far beyond genetics

Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, most public considerations of personalized medicine have focused on genetically targeted treatments. As The New York Times recently reported, genetic testing and targeted therapies have, for example, introduced a “totally different world” that replaces one-size-fits-all chemotherapy with tailored treatment options for individuals with certain genetically defined breast and lung cancers.

Though rightly emphasizing an area of tremendous biomedical progress, the focus on genetics has left the impression that personalized medicine has relatively narrow applications, mainly for people with certain cancers and rare diseases.

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