Editorials

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  • ‘Precision’ in a health context is usually thought to apply to the individual and seems conceptually at odds with efforts in public health directed toward improving population-level health metrics. But are these two aims truly irreconcilable?

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  • Recent measles outbreaks worldwide highlight the urgency of tracking and countering vaccine hesitancy to ensure the continued success of immunization programs.

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  • The National Institutes of Health Human Microbiome Project is coming to a close, offering an opportunity to reflect on its legacy and the urgent need to understand the microbiome of underrepresented populations.

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  • Immune interventions capable of preventing or eradicating HIV infection have yet to achieve broad success in humans. Renewed vigor in the clinical trial arena may bring us closer to that goal.

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  • The use of electronic cigarettes is on the rise, but we need more evidence about their risks as well as their value in curbing tobacco use. Ultimately, we need to design better, smarter vaping tools for smoking cessation.

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  • Cancer surveillance programs have reported a global downward trend in cancer mortality rates for most common tumor types. However, startling geographic inequalities exist, and some cancers continue to pose a challenge. Ensuring global access to high-quality diagnostic and treatment approaches is needed to make decreasing cancer deaths a more widespread trend.

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  • As the world reckons with the news of the first use of genome editing in the human germline, researchers, clinicians, ethicists and policy makers must work across international boundaries to outline a transparent path forward for the responsible translation of this technology in the future.

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  • As Nature Medicine celebrates its 25th anniversary, we bring you a special Focus on Digital Medicine that highlights the new technologies transforming medicine and healthcare, as well as the related regulatory challenges ahead.

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  • Recent news stories about conflict of interest in biomedical research have shaken up public and private institutions alike, but their focus was on clinical research. Amidst the renewed focus on conflicts of interest in clinical work, let’s not disregard the fact that financial conflicts also pose a concern to basic and preclinical research.

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  • Thanks to improvements in data collection and analysis, some polygenic risk scores that predict disease risk are approaching the same predictive accuracy offered by tests for monogenic mutations. The time to think about how best to incorporate polygenic tests in the clinic is now.

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  • To facilitate access to and improve the discoverability of the data in our papers, Nature Medicine is making the data availability statement in our papers more prominent and its language more transparent.

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  • Concerns about potential unintended DNA changes that might accidentally arise from CRISPR gene editing have emerged to varying degrees with the advent of the technology. As new therapies move from bench to bedside, scientists need to redouble their efforts to document the spectrum of these off-target effects while also acknowledging the reality that a certain degree of risk is embedded in many promising and successful medical therapies.

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  • With the ongoing demand for assisted reproduction, the need and ability to study the fundamentals of human reproduction at a cellular level have never been greater. At this juncture, we join other Nature Research Journals in formalizing our ethical guidelines for papers in this growing field.

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  • For more than two decades, Nature Medicine has been the prime venue for publication of outstanding work in the translational space. Now the journal’s scope is evolving to embrace the clinical research that meets the challenges and complexities of contemporary medicine.

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  • Influenza causes almost 650,000 deaths worldwide each year, yet a long-lasting, protective vaccine remains elusive. Global investment—both scientific and financial—in a universal flu vaccine is overdue.

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  • Therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases are desperately needed. Yet, a string of disappointments in the neurodegenerative therapy space has meant that several companies over the years have ended their investment in the field. Some companies have diversified their research and development (R&D) models to hedge their bets. Maintaining this diversity to bring down the silos between big pharma and smaller research teams may be necessary to jumpstart and sustain progress in combatting neurodegenerative conditions.

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  • Tailoring treatment to the individual patient has revolutionized cancer therapy, but personalized medicine has yet to make much headway in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. With emerging insight into disease mechanisms and new treatment options, the time is now ripe for the cardiovascular field to adopt a more personalized approach to therapy.

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  • Mental illnesses impose a grave disease burden worldwide, yet progress in managing and treating them has largely stalled. Harnessing the power of big data may break the current impasse and open new avenues for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these devastating illnesses.

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