Personalized Medicine and Pathology: Friend Or Foe?
My remarks focus on 4 topics: What is personalized medicine? Why now? When will it be real? And what is the specific call to action that I see for pathology? First, let me note what personalized medicine is not. It is not trial and error medicine. Yes, trial and error medicine has been the tried and true way we have achieved so much to date. I still believe it is the old paradigm that we will need to change to move forward. The way I see trial and error medicine is that a patient goes to a physician with an observation. The doctor then takes an action and says, “come back and let’s see how it works.” This system is inherently a circular process loop that calls for action, observable response, change, and action. It is successful when we use it and learn from those trials and errors, and we indeed move medicine forward. It is a failure when this loop is the only way to do it and we do not learn from patient to patient or even within an individual patient’s progression.