In the world of medicine, trial and error is largely the norm today. Doctors make a "most likely" diagnosis consistent with symptoms and prescribe treatment accordingly -- treatment that might include drugs, devices or surgery. If the treatment doesn't work, the doctor most likely alters dosage or prescribes something else. This iterative cycle is repeated until the diagnosis and treatment present the desired clinical outcome.

The bad news is that this paradigm has reached a point of diminishing returns, as evidenced by the fact that most drugs prescribed in the United States today are effective in fewer than 60 percent of treated patients. The good news is that new technology could transmute trial-and-error medicine, replacing it with an evidence-driven paradigm—one where each patient receives care, medication and treatment predicated on his or her unique genomic profile.

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