Precision Medicine Push From Obama


“Precision medicine – most commonly called Personalized Medicine – is about moving beyond this one-size-fits-all kind of approach to medicine and instead approaching disease prevention and treatment by taking into account individual differences in people’s genes, their microbiomes, their environments, and their lifestyles,” Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said yesterday in a press briefing previewing today’s announcement. “The idea is to give clinicians tools to better understand the mechanisms underlying a patient’s condition, and to better predict which treatments will be most effective and safe.”

President Obama asked Congress on Friday to approve $215 million for a “Precision Medicine Initiative” designed to help doctors tailor treatments to the individual characteristics of their patients, officials said.

New tools can help doctors assess a patient’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, improving the chances for better treatment and also helping the overall fight against diseases like cancer and diabetes, said Obama and aides.

At a White House event featuring doctors and researchers, Obama defined the promise precision medicine as “delivering the right treatments at the right time — every time — to the right person.”

As part of the project, researchers will look for a million volunteers to contribute to a database of genetic information. This and other tools can help doctors assess how lifestyle choices — including diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol — affect a person’s genetic makeup, and which kinds of treatments can affect which patients.

“Just like analyzing our DNA teaches us more about who we are than ever before, analyzing data from one of the largest research populations ever assembled will teach us more about the connections between us than ever before,” Obama said.

A White House statement on precision medicine said that “most medical treatments have been designed for the ‘average patient.’ As a result of this ‘one-size-fits-all-approach,’ treatments can be very successful for some patients but not for others.”

At the White House event, Obama said the Precision Medicine Initiative has bipartisan support in Congress. He noted that crowd included a key Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

People who have undergone precision treatments also attended, including retired basketball star and cancer patient Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Doctors have always tried to provide individual treatment to patients, but better access to more genetic information will improve their analysis, Obama said. Precision medicine — also known as personalized medicine — “gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new medical breakthroughs that we have ever seen,” he said.

Obama mentioned the project in his State of the Union address, saying it is designed “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.”

The $215 million budget request is a down payment on a years-long project, officials said.

Of the budget request, $130 million would be used to seek volunteers and start the database; $70 million would be tagged to the National Cancer Institute for research to fight against that disease.


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John Macey

I was born, and principally educated, in the fields of biochemistry, and business management in the northeastern USA. However, my world-wide professional career has greatly expanded upon that US base to involve the many different segments of the Biotech / Life Science fields globally. – I have been dressed as a surgeon to view many, many surgical proceedures - The major players in the health care fields that I have worked for include: Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, Abbott Laboratories, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. – Positions have included selling nuclear materials for both in-vivo & in-vitro (radio-pharmaceutical & radio-immunoassay) medical diagnostic purposes, in the four countries in Scandinavia, based south of Stockholm, to managing Ph. Ds at a global Swiss headquarters location. – At one time I held a position of Strategy Manager for Europe, Middle-East & Africa (EME&A) for a Chicago based company, but living in Germany. – I do speak fluent colloquial German. – In addition to having lived in multiple European countries, my professional career took me to Asia for well over a decade. There I had management control of Oceania, the Pacific Rim, Northern Asia, Japan, out to India. – Occasionally, management assignments have taken me to all of Latin America, and most of South America. – I am extremely culturally aware, a skilled negotiator, and a seasoned manager of men and science. – My one abiding passion has always been computing, data, and analysis. As such, my main computer operating system is Linux, and open-source computer applications. – I do also run Microsoft 7, and Mac OS X (all 3 operating systems on the same H-P Ultrabook). I hope you enjoy your time on the Blog, and should you have any comments / feedback please feel free to email me @ jjmacey@jjmacey.net, or visit my Linux Web Site @ www.jjmacey.net (always evolving) – John J. Macey – AKA Adler, which in German means Eagle – Wildwood, New Jersey - Together, we can expand your global markets - with our partnerships. The partnerships are global utlizing multiple Law, Regulatory, Seasoned Management, Employment, M&A and buidlers of Business. Contact use.