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What's This Personalized Medicine?

A new poll has found that a large majority — 71 percent — of US adults are not familiar with personalized medicine, HealthDay reports.

In conjunction with Harris Poll, HealthDay asked more than 2,000 adults in the US what they knew about personalized medicine. Only 5 percent of respondents said they were very familiar with personalized medicine.

Similarly, a survey from GenomeWeb and the Personalized Medicine Coalition earlier this year also found personalized medicine wasn't on the forefront of people's minds. They reported that that 29 percent of respondents said they were familiar with personalized medicine, 15 percent said they knew of precision medicine, and 24 percent said they had heard of individualized medicine.

Len Lichtenfeld, the acting chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, tells HealthDay that is not surprising, as people tend remember information that is relevant to their lives at the moment. Still, Bruce Johnson, the past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, says doctors need to do a better job telling their patients about personalized medicine.

HealthDay further reports that 68 percent of respondents were excited about personalized medicine. However, it notes that 60 percent are also unaware of how expensive personalized medicines are compared to conventional chemotherapies — 46 percent thought they'd cost the same as conventional approaches and 15 thought they'd cost less. As HealthDay adds, Keytruda costs about $150,000 a year, while the recently approved Vitrakvi is to cost $32,800 a month.