Advances in human genome research are opening the door to a new paradigm for practising medicine that promises to transform healthcare. Personalized medicine, the use of marker-assisted diagnosis and targeted therapies derived from an individual's molecular profile, will impact the way drugs are developed and medicine is practiced. Knowledge of the molecular basis of disease will lead to novel target identification, toxicogenomic markers to screen compounds and improved selection of clinical trial patients, which will fundamentally change the pharmaceutical industry. The traditional linear process of drug discovery and development will be replaced by an integrated and heuristic approach. In addition, patient care will be revolutionized through the use of novel molecular predisposition, screening, diagnostic, prognostic, pharmacogenomic and monitoring markers. Although numerous challenges will need to be met to make personalized medicine a reality, with time, this approach will replace the traditional trial-and-error practice of medicine.