Precision Medicine: What Does it Mean for You?


St. Elizabeth Healthcare is committed to providing our patients with cutting-edge medical care. Recently, St. Elizabeth has brought even more focus to the area of precision medicine, embracing the “this is right for you, personally” approach instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

What is precision medicine?
Precision medicine is an approach to healthcare, disease treatment and prevention that utilizes genomic information to guide decision making. Our physicians work closely with the genetic counselors to determine the appropriate testing for specific molecular characteristics. Those results are used to tailor a patient’s healthcare plan to specifically fit their needs, oftentimes improving outcomes.

This powerful approach to medicine allows healthcare providers to focus on prevention and early intervention in addition to treatment of diseases. The shift from reactive to proactive medicine is empowering for both physicians and their patients.

Precision medicine and oncology
Precision medicine can benefit many patients, including those with cancer. Instead of giving a “blanket treatment” that would be given to any patient with a certain type of cancer, precision medicine allows the oncology team to tailor the cancer treatment to that patient’s specific molecular marker in their tumor.

“Treating the cancer specifically is happening more and more,” says Jaime Grund, a Certified Genetic Counselor at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “More than 75% of cancer treatments currently in development have a molecular marker to guide their use and that number will just continue to grow.”

While studies are ongoing with many of these molecular marker treatments, early evidence suggests that survival time can be increased by using the precision medicine methodology.

The St. Elizabeth Healthcare mission
St. Elizabeth has always had a strong presence in genetics, establishing a genetic counseling program in 1999 and hereditary cancer risk testing in 2003. Over 14,000 patients from the Tristate area and beyond have been referred through our genetic counseling program. New developments and technology improvements have allowed genetic testing to come to the forefront of healthcare.

“The administration of St. Elizabeth, in keeping with our mission of creating a healthy community, has provided an unprecedented level of support and dedication to begin developing a precision medicine program,” says Jaime. “All the expertise lies right within our walls at St. Elizabeth, and we’re coming together to use that combined expertise to the benefit of our patients.”

Learn if precision medicine can help you or a loved one
Patients interested in learning more about precision medicine can schedule an appointment with one of our certified genetics counselors. Your health history and goals will be discussed and a DNA test can be arranged at that time as well. Please call the St. Elizabeth Genetics department at (859) 301-5396 for more information or to set up an appointment.