Advancements in Science and Technology Are Changing the Way We Study Disease, Develop Drugs and Prescribe Treatments

Armed with a greater understanding of disease biology, researchers have come to recognize that a patient’s response to medication may differ dramatically from one person to the next. An emerging form of treatment known as ‘personalized medicine’ stems from this understanding, and uses diagnostic tools to determine which medicines and procedures are best for each patient.


Over the last 60+ years, tremendous gains have been made in personalized medicine, largely thanks to a continued effort to improve our understanding of the science behind disease treatment.

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Watson and Crick discover the structure of the DNA double-helix

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Researchers crack the genetic code

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First DNA sequencing technology developed; researchers discover first enzyme linked to individual variation in response to dosing

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Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) first developed, allowing for fast amplification of DNA sequences

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Human genome project launched; FDA approves first personalized medicine with a companion diagnostic, for the treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer

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Human Genome Project completed; first targeted therapies for lung cancer, leukemia, melanoma, cystic fibrosis, HIV, and many other diseases

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42% of the industry’s pipeline has the potential to be personalized medicines