Personalized Medicine goes Mainstream

medical symbolAt last, Personalized Medicine goes mainstream! The exciting part of this is that we are having a new conversation in the mainstream media about how our lifestyle and environment affects our genes. It gives clinicians tools to better understand the mechanisms underlying certain diseases and conditions — and which treatments to use.

President Obama gave details in his State of the Union message. He announced a proposal to invest $215 million this year in an initiative to advance “precision medicine,” an approach to disease prevention and treatment that moves beyond a “one-size-fits” all approach.

“Tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes — and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier,” Obama said.

“I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine — one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable.”

Specifically, Mr. Obama’s budget will include a proposal to give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) $130 million for the development of a voluntary national research cohort of at least a million volunteers. The proposal would give $70 million to the National Cancer Institute (part of NIH) to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer. Another $10 million would go to the Food and Drug Administration to develop high-quality databases for the reach, while the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology would get $5 million to develop privacy and security standards for the research.