11 April 2012
Vol 4, Issue 129

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Café cultures place a high value on the gathering of friends, sweethearts, and colleagues for coffee and conversation. Now, biomedical scientists, physicians, and patients may meet up through dynamic new networks—data-driven ones that marry emerging research on the molecular makeup of diseases with clinical information about individual patients. Knowledge gained through these "conversations" is expected to drive the fashioning of a new classification, or taxonomy, of disease, as described in this issue by Desmond-Hellmann. The new taxonomy will help tailor medical treatments to the individual characteristics of singular patients and patient groups—a practice called precision medicine. The author also calls for a new social contract driven by patients who both contribute personal clinical data and benefit from innovative diagnostics and treatments discovered through the collaboration. [CREDIT: R. IAN LLOYD/MASTERFILE]