“‘Personalized medicine’ refers to the tailoring of medi- cal treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient. It does not literally mean the creation of drugs or medical devices that are unique to a patient but rather the ability to classify individuals into subpopulations that differ in their sus- ceptibility to a particular disease or their response to a specific treatment. Preventive or therapeutic interventions can then be concentrated on those who will benefit, sparing expense and side effects for those who will not.”
Precision Medicine: Improving Health and Treating Disease
Last night, at his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he is launching a new precision medicine initiative that will help deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.
Many of you may be wondering: What exactly is “precision medicine,” and how can it transform medicine as it is practiced today?
Today, most medical treatments have been designed for the “average patient.” In too many cases, this “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t effective, as treatments can be very successful for some patients but not for others. Precision medicine is an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles, making it possible to design highly effective, targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases. In short, precision medicine gives clinicians new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.
This approach is already saving lives. Bill Elder, one of the First Lady’s guests at the State of the Union last night, was eight years old when he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, at a time when patients typically lived until only early adulthood. But in 2012, as a result of a collaborative effort between a patient organization, researchers, and a pharmaceutical company, a new drug was developed that treats the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis in about 4% of patients—those with a particular genetic mutation. Bill was among the 4 percent, and as a result, now looks forward to a long, full life and career as a primary care doctor. His story is a testament to the promise of precision medicine.
“Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development. 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. So 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. We can do this.”
- Precision Medicine Initiative
- 1/30/15 FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative
- 7/8/15 FACT SHEET: New Patient-Focused Commitments to Advance the President’s 7/8/15 Precision Medicine Initiative
- 11/9/15 Building Trust and Protecting Privacy: Progress on the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
- 2/25/15 President Obama delivers remarks in a panel discussion at the White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit
- 7/6/16 Fact Sheet: Administration Announces New Actions to Advance the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
National Institutes of Health – Precision Medicine
- What are the near-term goals?
- What are the longer-term goals?
- How is it different?
- Who will participate?
- NIH Workshop – February 11-12, 2015
Friday, January 30th
President Obama hosts patients, clinicians, researchers, leaders in government and industry
to announce details of his Precision Medicine Initiative