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Understanding the Difference Between Precision Medicine and Personalized Care for Lung Cancer

Ravi Salgia, MD
Published Online:6:00 PM, Mon August 5, 2019

Ravi Salgia, MD, professor and chair, Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, associate director for clinical sciences, City of Hope, Durante, California, says there is a difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine.
Precision medicine and personalized medicine go hand-in-hand; however, personalizing care for patients with lung cancer requires oncologists to take a closer look at the patient’s age, performance status, and other organ damage to decide whether or not the patient can tolerate a particular therapy. Once these details are considered, physicians can then practice precision medicine with the patients, says Salgia.
The ability to identify biomarkers, like an EGFR mutation, is the key difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine. Knowing the patient’s unique background and identifying these biomarkers helps physicians make the most educated decision regarding patients’ care.
In the future, Salgia predicts that personalized medicine will incorporate mechanisms that help patients build resistance. Research has already shown the benefit of immunotherapy for survival, and now physicians are looking at immunotherapy and targeted therapies for overcoming resistance.
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