A new analysis of the changing terminology of Precision Medicine

Thought-leading white paper published by AstraZeneca in scientific journal Personalized Medicine

For nearly a decade, AstraZeneca has pushed the boundaries of science to develop innovative, targeted medicines for patients most likely to benefit. Our goal – to deliver the right treatment to the right patient – has inspired a new thought-leading white paper authored by Dr. Ruth March, Senior Vice President, Precision Medicine and Genomics, IMED Biotech Unit and Cecilia Schott, Vice President, Precision Medicine, Oncology Business Unit, which has today been published in the journal Personalized Medicine.

The paper focuses on the evolutionary changes in the field which have given rise to a progression for AstraZeneca towards the term Precision Medicine and tackles some of the rationale for driving a consistent language for patients and their families.

Showcasing independent research commissioned by AstraZeneca, the paper serves to highlight a number of key findings which informed the steps taken to launch our new Precision Medicine and Genomics function and remain at the forefront of the field:

  • There is no consensus on whether precision or personalised medicine is the better or more accurate term
  • Precision Medicine is the most frequently used term among lay audiences
  • Among scientists and HCPs, personalised(z) medicine is the most frequently used term
  • Geographically, precision is generally the favoured term among US audiences and personalised remains the most used term among European audiences
  • Although oncology is the therapy area where Precision/Personalised(z) Medicine is most talked about, Precision Medicine reflects the significant progress being made in targeted therapies for respiratory and CVMD diseases using the ‘big data’ approach

The paper can be read in full on the Future Medicine, Personalized Medicine website.


To realise the ambition of Precision Medicine and match targeted medicines to patients most likely to benefit, our communication with all stakeholders needs to be clear and unambiguous.

Ruth March SVP Precision Medicine and Genomics

Diagnostic testing is increasingly essential at every stage of the disease continuum to guide treatment decisions that target ever-evolving disease biology. The innovation being delivered by Precision Medicine is an important driver to improve patient outcomes through biomarker-guided therapies.

Cecilia Schott VP Precision Medicine OBU

Today, AstraZeneca applies a Precision Medicine approach, using linked diagnostic tests, across all its main therapy areas – oncology, respiratory and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases – wherever it is scientifically possible and clinically appropriate. AstraZeneca has launched the new Precision Medicine and Genomics function to reflect an evolution from its original approach of measuring a few mutations to support drug labels in oncology to the current broad range of cutting-edge diagnostic technologies used in its research - including molecular diagnostics, tissue diagnostics, next generation sequencing and point of care diagnostics. The new title also recognises the integration of the industry-leading Genomics Initiative within the new Precision Medicine and Genomics function.