What is Precision Medicine?

Oncology Precision Medicine

Precision medicine is an approach to treating cancer that is customized to each individual patient. A targeted treatment approach that goes beyond treating the disease, precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute is based on and tailored to multiple aspects of a patient’s health, such as their genetic makeup, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. 

The Role of Genetics in Precision Medicine 

An individual’s DNA, gene sequences, and unique genetic history are major factors in precision medicine. Cancer is the result of a genetic malfunction that causes cells to grow and multiply when they shouldn’t, creating tumors. When doctors and researchers on the precision medicine team at Rutgers Cancer Institute can understand a patient’s DNA through analysis and identification of the genetic changes that drive their cancer, they are able to make more accurate diagnoses, and are able to develop specialized treatment options that best target the culprit mutations in the tumor DNA. This results in providing the safest and most effective personalized treatment plans for each individual patient.   

Not Just One Disease 

Shridar Ganesan, MD, PhDDr. Shridar Ganesan co-leads Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Clinical Investigations and Precision Therapeutics Program and is currently exploring how DNA repair defects in cancer can be exploited to develop novel effective treatments. Dr. Ganesan is the principal investigator of a clinical trial that uses DNA analysis of rare and resistant cancers to apply next-generation sequencing technology to identify how best to treat them. Learn more about Dr. Ganesan’s research in precision medicine.


“In recent years we have learned that cancers that arise in one organ, such as breast cancer or lung cancer, are not just one disease, but rather a collection of distinct diseases with varying responses to different treatment strategies. We therefore need to examine many features of each cancer to better classify it and identify effective treatment.”

Shridar Ganesan, MD, PhD
Associate Director for Translational Science and Section Chief, Molecular Oncology

Our Ongoing Efforts in Precision Medicine

Precision Medicine TreatmentResearchers and scientists are working to expand the use of precision medicine to develop novel therapeutics and guide treatment choices today and in the future. Since 2013, research efforts in precision medicine have been visible across multiple research programs at Rutgers Cancer Institute. Read more about our precision medicine research.