The ethical framing of personalized medicine

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Personalized medicine encompasses the use of biological information such as genomics to provide tailored interventions for patients. The review explores the ethical, legal, and social issues that have emerged with personalized medicine and must be considered because of the complex nature of providing individualized care within a clinical setting.

Recent findings

Recent studies found that the use of personalized medicine presents challenges in multiple areas: biobanking and informed consent, confidentiality, genetic discrimination, return of results, access to treatment, clinical translation, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, emerging duties, and knowledge mobilization.

Summary

Although personalized medicine provides benefits in treating patients in a manner that is more suited to their genetic profile, there are challenges that must be discussed to ensure the protection and fair treatment of individuals. The issues concerning personalized medicine are widespread, and range from individual privacy to the stratification and discrimination of sub-populations based on ethnicity. These issues have considerable impact on the individual and society. A thorough exploration of these ethical issues may identify novel challenges as well as potential avenues for resolution.

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