The importance of real-world data to precision medicine

In this editorial, published in Personalized Medicine, Dipak Kalra (University of Gent; Belgium) details the importance of new evidence, derived from large populations, to direct the development of novel, targeted drugs and advance the field of precision medicine.

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Personalizing medical treatment and healthcare delivery on the basis of a person's biology is not new. However, what is accelerating the momentum toward more personalized medicine is the deep characterization of individuals by genome, proteome, metabolome or microbiome. This allows for the development of (usually) genetically-targeted therapies and the delivery of more effective and safer treatments. This widely heralded opportunity has triggered substantial governmental and industry investments, aiming to accelerate the research that helps to identify how new generation therapies can be more rapidly identified for relevant molecular targets.

In this editorial, Dipak Kalra (University of Gent; Belgium)  discusses how access to fine-grained health data is the next scalability challenge for personalized medicine. New evidence derived from large populations of data is needed to direct the development of new targeted drugs, to discover unmet needs and the value of novel therapies. An evidence-based reorganization of healthcare is also needed to deliver more personalized packages of care.

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