Precision Medicine



For much of the history of modern cancer treatment, oncologists had few means to predict the potential efficacy of treatment beyond tumor staging. Overcoming that challenge started with the Human Genome Project, a massive international public health initiative to sequence the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome that began in 1990 and was completed in 2003.1

Based on the results of the Human Genome Project, alongside advances in research technology, the focus of cancer treatment evolved beyond the blanket approach to emphasize precision medicine.2 Precision medicine (also referred to as "personalized medicine") incorporates information specific to the individual patient, such as genetic or biomarker-expression profiles, to guide cancer therapy. 2


Therapeutic Potential

Precision medicine is a cornerstone of modern cancer therapy, with diagnostic, predictive, prognostic, and disease-monitoring biomarkers guiding therapy across tumor types.3 However, significant treatment challenges remain as clinical experience with and understanding of precision medicine matures.2,3

AbbVie is fully committed to expanding and enhancing the utility of precision medicine by exploring the potential of advanced research and drug technologies to overcome current treatment challenges. This effort includes:

  • Implementing cutting-edge genomic and proteomic technologies to better understand tumor heterogeneity and mechanisms of sensitivity or resistance.
  • Developing Companion Diagnostics to identify patients most likely to respond.
  • Establishing non-invasive methods to evaluate biomarkers for patient treatment decisions.
  • Targeting cancer stem cells and apoptotic mechanisms to potentially overcome pathways of resistance.
  • Exploring epigenetics to directly address mechanisms of tumor cell DNA repair.
  • Discovering novel technologies to improve precision and reduce cytotoxicity, including bispecific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates.
  • Evaluating the potential of new biomarkers to provide more treatment solutions in immuno-oncology.
  1. National Institutes of Health. Human Genome Project. Accessed November 10, 2017.
  2. Diamandis M, White NMA, Yousef GM. Personalized medicine: marking a new epoch in cancer patient management. Mol Cancer Res. 2010;8(9):OF1-OF13. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-10-0264. Epub 24 Aug 2010.
  3. Gonzalez de Castro D, Clarke PA, Al-Lazikani B, Workman P. Personalized cancer medicine: molecular diagnostics, predictive biomarkers, and drug resistance. Nature. 2013;93(3):252-259.

Need more information?

Explore Careers

Contact Medical Information

For All Other Information