“You can match a blood transfusion to a blood type...what if matching a cancer cure to our genetic code was just as easy, just as standard? What if figuring out the right dose of medicine was as simple as taking our temperature?”

President Obama posed these questions during the recent Precision Medicine Summit held at the White House. The summit was a progressive step in the movement to recognize and treat diseases based on a person’s genomic profile—not through trial and error as has been done before. The summit hosted an inspiring mix of speakers who shared personal stories about having benefited because of genomic research.

Genomic profiling is a process of identifying mutations that may predispose people to certain illnesses like cancer or mental illness. Importantly, a mutation does not necessarily mean a condition will happen. The mix of environmental and even social factors can affect the observable features and diseases a person expresses, otherwise known as their phenotype.

Cancer treatment recommendations have historically been based on clinical trials, which are tightly controlled and typically take many years to complete. In the near future, people will have the ability to participate in research by sharing their data with a click of a button. The National Institute of Health announced the formation of a database that will allow people to upload their personal health information. Information on personal health habits, results from blood tests and imaging studies, and illness information will be captured in one place. Now that’s power in numbers.