April 17, 2019 | The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics
Precision Medicine Research: An Exception or An Exemplar?
Precision medicine has been described as “a paradigm shift”2 and “a new era of medicine.”3 This perception of novelty has, in turn, led some to call for new approaches to precision medicine research oversight to ensure that participants are protected and that scientific progress is not impeded.4 Such calls demand our attention because legal, regulatory, ethical, and even technical challenges could erect barriers to major precision-medicine initiatives like the All of Us Research Program and hamper medical advancement.
Hammack and colleagues make a welcomed contribution to the field by studying the risks to and protections for precision medicine research participants from the perspective of precision medicine thought-leaders.5 They focus on the subset of risks and protections related to participant privacy and confidentiality. These are important findings, as privacy and confidentiality have been identified as essential to the sucess of precision medicine research.