Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Personalized Genomic Medicine

PGM brochure

PDF iconDownload a copy of our personalized genomic medicine brochure


What is personalized genomic medicine (PGM)?

Personalized genomic medicine is a way to improve your health using your family history, medical history, genetic information, and lifestyle

The four Ps of personalized genomic medicine are:

  • Personalized: risks are uniquely yours
  • Predictive: predicts the chances of developing certain disorders
  • Preventative: based on genetic test results and specific lifestyle behaviors, offers healthy solutions to decrease disease risk
  • Participatory: requires your involvement

What is genetic information?

Information about your genome (your DNA), which includes:

  • Family health history
  • Diseases and risks of health problems that run in your family
  • Family stories

What is a genetic test?

Genetic tests look at changes in your DNA that cause disease or put you at increased risk to develop disease.

What is the human genome?

  • The human genome contains all of a person's genetic information
  • It is made of DNA
  • It is a series of 3 billion base pairs, the building blocks of DNA
  • Base pairs consist of letters (A, C, G, T) that are the code to make 20,000 to 30,000 genes
  • Genes are the instructions for our bodies

What can personalized genomic medicine do for me?

  • It may help diagnose a disease you already have
  • It may help your doctor decide which medicine and how much of that medicine will work best for you (pharmacogenomics)
  • It may tell you if you are at risk to develop a disease in the future

What kind of diseases can personalized genomic medicine tell me about?

  • Diseases that run in your family
  • Rare diseases
  • Common diseases such as diabetes, which are caused by both DNA changes and your environment

What can personalized genomic medicine not tell me?

  • We do not fully understand all diseases at this time
  • We do not fully understand all genes or all of their changes at this time
  • It cannot tell you when you will develop disease
  • It may or may not be able to tell you how severe the disease will be

Why haven't I heard of personalized genomic medicine until now?

  • Scientists and doctors are using recent research discoveries to improve medical care
  • Recently, new DNA tests make studying your DNA easier, faster, and cheaper than in the past
  • The mission of the IIHG is to bring PGM to the state of Iowa

How do I learn more about personalized genomic medicine?