Personalized medicine: Historical roots of a medical model

Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio, Francesco Spöring

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In order to visualize the key developments of personalized medicine, this chapter firstly discusses Theodor Brugsch’s (1878-1963) Personallehre, which developed within the context of the constitutional medicine of the 1920s. Subsequently, a closer look will be taken at the pioneers of pharmacogenetics, such as Friedrich Vogel (1925-2006), Arno G. Motulsky (born 1923), and Werner Kalow (1917-2008). This history highlights partially forgotten aspects in the consideration of challenging approaches to quantifying qualities and characteristics of the individual. In a concluding section, these proto approaches are compared to contemporary personalized medicine. Brugsch and contemporaries are particularly instructive with regard to the consideration of psychodynamic and culture specific aspects of illness, which relativize simple concepts of health and highlight the limits of a genetic reductionism. Furthermore, they contain a self-critical potential that may dispel fallacies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Molecular Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationFoundational Issues in Research and Practice
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781317378358
ISBN (Print)9781138940673
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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