Personalised medicine

Imagine being able to get a faster diagnosis of a condition based on your unique situation, be given personalised treatments based on what would be most effective for you and experience fewer, if any, side effects….or even move away from simply managing an illness once you are sick to promoting health by predicting certain conditions and preventing them developing in the first place.

This is the basis for personalised medicine and by understanding the role our DNA plays in our health, it can help us transform how we think about our healthcare and help us deliver the four Ps:

  • Prediction and Prevention of disease
  • More Precise diagnoses
  • Personalised and targeted interventions
  • A more Participatory role for patients

By combining and analysing information about our genome, with other clinical and diagnostic information, patterns can be identified that can help to determine our individual risk of developing disease; detect illness earlier and determine the most effective interventions to help improve our health; be they medicines, lifestyle choices, or even simple changes in diet.

This can help us move away from simply managing an illness and instead focusing on promoting health.

The concept of personalised medicine is not new. Clinicians have been working to personalise care, tailored to people’s individual health needs, throughout the history of medicine, but never before has it been possible to predict how each of our bodies will respond to specific interventions, or identify which of us is at risk of developing an illness. New possibilities are now emerging as we bring together novel approaches, such as whole genome sequencing, data and informatics, and wearable technology. It is the interconnections between these innovations that makes it possible to move to an era of truly personalised care.

Through the 100,000 Genomes Project, and now the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, the NHS is building partnerships with academia and industry to decode the human genome, in people with rare diseases and cancer and realise the potential of personalised medicine. This will help to predict the future development of disease, to make a diagnosis where one has not existed previously and to identify treatments where possible. Please see the genomics page for further information.


If you have any queries regarding any aspect of personalised medicine please contact the Genomics Unit at NHS England via: