Monday, May 15, 2017

Personalized Medicine: Ethical Aspects

 2017;1606:37-50. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6990-6_3.

Personalized Medicine: Ethical Aspects.

Author information

Retired Surator of Health Sciences - Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.


In our time of genome-based personalized medicine, clinical research and clinical medicine are accelerating at a quick pace. Faster and cheaper DNA sequencing and protein profiling, microfluidic devices for capturing blood biomarkers, nanoparticles for precise drug delivery and enhanced imaging, rapid computational analysis of massive data inputs, and other technological wonders coalesce to create a kind of Moore's Law for medicine. Needs are obvious, knowledge grows, capital becomes available, but these factors are not entirely sufficient to make health more achievable. Personalized medicine also requires social acceptability, not only for accuracy and efficacy but also because medicine is a moral domain. This chapter deals with medical ethics that determine the choices a society makes regarding healthcare; and it has not always been a steady, morally correct course of progress. Indeed, medical ethics has largely derived from socio-scientific calamities in the past. Personalized medicine, with its enhanced capacity to access the individuality of illness, must have a continuously evolving feedback mechanism-the most important element being the physician-patient relationship-which is its ethical footing.

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