The Face of a Revolution: Mapping the Limits of Personalized Medicine

Dec 5, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
700-828 W. 10 Ave., VGH Research Pavilion
Tim Caulfield

The idea that we are in the midst of a genetic revolution has been with us for decades.  The latest iteration of this promise of paradigm-shifting transformation comes in the guise of “personalized medicine” – which, we are consistently told, will revolutionize our healthcare system and reduce the burden of chronic disease.  It has also been suggested it will result in less iatrogenic injuries and a reduction of healthcare costs. But can personalized medicine live up to the hype?  Will it result in healthier Canadians or merely a cascade of more testing and services of questionable clinical value?  In this presentation, Caulfield will explore how the research community, funders, politicians and the media have framed the benefits of personalized medicine. He will argue that there are reasons to be skeptical and that, in fact, the constant hype associated with personalized medicine can hurt public perceptions of science, patient care and health policy. In addition, there are social forces – such as legal pressures and public expectations – that seem likely to undermine the stated goals of precision and cost containment.