Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

President Unveils Details of Precision Medicine Initiative

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

President Unveils Details of Precision Medicine Initiative

Article excerpt

President Obama seeks to invest $215 million to improve the country's ability to explore and leverage precision medicine. He announced details of his plan at a White House event Jan. 30.

The Precision Medicine Initiative, first unveiled 10 days earlier in his State of the Union address, will focus on finding the personalized, genetic factors that can lead to cancer and on developing one of the largest patient data sets in the world to study a host of diseases and conditions.

The goal of the initiative is to increase physicians' ability to take a patient's individual genetic makeup and molecular subtypes of diseases into account to improve the chances of successful treatment.

"Analyzing data from one of the largest research populations ever assembled will teach us more about the connections between us than ever before," President Obama said during his speech. "This new information will help doctors discover the causes, and one day, the cures, of some of the most deadly diseases that we face."

The effort will be led by officials at the National Institutes of Health, with the support of other agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The time is right for this visionary initiative, according to NIH Director Francis S. Collins and National Cancer Institute Director Harold Varmus, who both have key leadership roles.

Oncology is a clear choice for enhancing the near-term impact of precision medicine, they wrote in a perspective published Jan. 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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"The cancer-focused component of this initiative will be designed to address some of the obstacles that have already been encountered in precision oncology: unexplained drug resistance, genomic heterogeneity of tumors, insufficient means of monitoring responses and tumor reoccurrence and limited knowledge about the use of drug combinations," according to the editorial (N. …

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