Booklet | Precision medicine in China

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Science  23 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6319, pp. 1601
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6319.1601-b


Boiled down to its essence, precision medicine describes the ability to tailor therapies to a patient's individual needs by examining their particular physiology, genome, and environment. The ideal is that individualized treatment will lead to lower costs, fewer side effects, and better outcomes. Precision medicine in China, if not in its infancy, is still a long way from reaching maturity. However, it shows significant promise. The country provides unique opportunities for research, including a varied geography and a large population presenting with many different diseases, both common and rare. Furthermore, the government is clearly a strong proponent of precision medicine, supporting it financially through numerous initiatives and also through policy changes at a national level. This supplement takes a deeper look at precision medicine in China, including associated research undertakings and how it is currently being applied in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, with a particular focus on cancer. There is little doubt that China intends to be a leader in this area, investing both money and resources. Should this venture pay off, the country will be well placed to provide top-quality health care for its populace and even to provide advice to other nations with less-advanced health care systems.

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