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What Is Precision Medicine

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Published on Mar 21, 2015

By Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate and Director of the National Cancer Institute.

On January 30, President Obama rolled out details on his Precision Medicine Initiative, a new effort that is already changing the way we classify, diagnose, and treat disease. The idea is to provide therapeutic and preventive strategies specifically designed for the patient and is more effective and less toxic.

While many disease areas will ultimately benefit from precision medicine, cancer researchers are already leading the way by assessing risks, refining diagnoses, and improving the treatments for
several kinds of cancers. Dr. Varmus highlights this transformational moment for cancer research. He discusses how cancer presents an exceptional opportunity to refine the principles and practices that will serve as the foundation for precision medicine. He also discusses the current limitations of precision medicine and the proposed research needed to overcome those limitations.

The Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus provides a forum where Members and staff can interact directly with preeminent researchers responsible for important scientific discoveries. Many of the stunning advances, made possible by NIH funding, highlighted in these presentations have led to improved understanding of the cause, treatment, and prevention of human disease.

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