Precision Medicine is the newest way for doctors to help treat patients' and prevent disease. Different people have different genes, environments, and lifestyles—and all can play a huge role in the success or failure of different types of treatment. Precision Medicine looks at these patient differences and comes up with the best way to treat a certain type of illness to best fit the needs of each patient.
Following are some things that Precision Medicine is aiming for:
More and better cancer treatment:
Breakthroughs in cancer have already begun, with researchers creating genetic profiles for a specific person’s tumor cells so that doctors can decide on treatments that may work better for individuals and certain types of cancer, for instance. This helps create better cancer treatments. But even more can be done. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will speed up the design and testing of cancer treatments in many different ways. One way is by increasing clinical cancer trials that focus on a person’s genes. NCI will also study cancer biology even further to better understand the disease. Finally, NCI will work to create a “cancer knowledge network” to make and share new discoveries and information to help all researchers understand cancer better.
Creating a group of volunteers for a national study:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as other government agencies will create a national patient group of one million Americans who volunteer for this research project. Those who volunteer will have the chance to add their information to a wide range of data, from information about their health to the way they live, they will also have DNA testing and be followed over time through a wearable device, like a medical-grade fitbit. Whenever health information is shared, people MUST know all about the research project and be involved only if they want to be.
Being sure your privacy is protected:
Another important thing for people involved in research is to know that their information is kept private. The Precision Medicine initiative follows strict privacy protections, the White House will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other government agencies to ask for feedback from volunteers, bioethicists, civil rights advocates, and other experts to be sure that privacy issues that are important to people involved in the research are dealt with. Getting everyone’s opinion on privacy helps ensure all voices will be heard and all views will be taken into account.
Updating laws and protections:
This Initiative will include looking at the most recent laws and rules to see if more changes will be needed to support this new type of research. This includes further reviewing the privacy and protection of volunteers. As part of this effort, the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA) will create a new way to study Next Generation Sequencing technologies — tests that quickly read large parts of a person’s DNA, or even their entire genome. This new approach will help increase the knowledge about which genetic changes are important to patient care and help researchers come up with new genetic technology.
The Obama Administration will cooperate with existing research partners, patient groups, and private businesses. The hope is to create the strong partnerships that will be needed to expand cancer genomics, and to launch the voluntary million-person study. This gathering will include creating new ways to get patients not only involved but empowered to have a say in this important health project. As an example, Obama’s team is finding ways for volunteers to easily look at their own health data. This will help community volunteers not only understand their health records, but help them to manage their health with the doctors and other medical providers they already have.