Precision medicine is the great healthcare promise of today and the future. Successful individual treatments regimens and research programs, at large academic medical centers and community hospitals alike, are already underway and saving lives. And with large-scale initiatives such as the National Institutes of Health's All of Us research program, which kicked off earlier this month, that bold vision will only grow in its potential to improve the health of patients and populations. Without policies in place, there are major mistakes that hospitals, researchers, clinicians and policymakers must avoid to get this right. That point stuck with me among all the optimism here at the HIMSS Precision Medicine Summit in the nation's capital late last week.
In order for precision medicine to be successful, accurate characterization of the patient is necessary. A variety of biomarkers could provide the necessary data, collected through a variety of'omics techniques. Add to this the complication that biomarkers may differ between population groups, or indeed between individuals, and that tracking these biomarkers as the patient's status changes can be onerous, and the future of precision medicine could be described as bleak. Yet this pessimistic outlook has not stopped researchers from pushing forward in their search for accurate and robust biomarkers, which they hope will help to predict the risk of disease, ascertain the probability of positive clinical outcomes, and evaluate therapeutic efficacy. In this supplement to Science, these important topics are discussed, with a focus on advances in precision medicine research in China.
In precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, researchers work to identify the genetic factors that drive or contribute to a disease and build medicine that targets the downstream effects of those miscreant genes. Then, they use genomic sequencing technologies to identify just those patients who bear the distinctive genetic signatures their drug works on. More often than not, these drugs are costly, and they don't work on everyone. But when the right patients get the right medicine at the right time, treatments will be more effective and have fewer side effects.
You may not be sure why your coffee pot should talk to your toaster, but precision technology powering an Internet of Things has the potential to reshape our planet. To help clarify, Dr. Timothy Chou (Lecturer at Stanford University) created Precision to introduce us to the basics of the Internet of Things, with a focus on business solutions. The first part of Precision Industries introduces a vendor-neutral, acronym-free, five layer framework to help us better understand the Internet of Things. The module then dives into each layer of the framework in more detail: You learn about Things (after all we are talking about the "Internet of Things"), how they Connect to the network, how to Collect data coming from these networked machines, what can be done to Learn from this data, and, finally, what you can Do differently given learned insights from deployed IoT solutions. The course highlights both fundamental Principles, as well as many real-world examples put into Practice.
The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) is an independent and established conference series considered to be the preeminent precision medicine conference that attracts recognized leaders, top global researchers and medical professionals, and innovators across healthcare and biotechnology sectors to showcase practical content that helps close the knowledge gap between different sectors, thereby catalyzing cross-functional fertilization and collaboration. Since 2009, recognized as a vital cornerstone for all constituents of the health care and biotechnology community, PMWC provides an exceptional forum for the exchange of information about the latest advances in technology (e.g.