$215 million for the development of 'Precision Medicine'
And what if combining a cure for cancer with our genetic code were just that simple? And what if determining the correct dosage of medicine were as simple as taking your temperature? This is what ‘precision medicine’ promises, offering the correct treatment, at the necessary time, and always to the correct person. And, for a small, but increasing number of patients, the future has already arrived”. With these words filled with hope and encouragement, at the end of January, President Obama explained to the nation, and to the world, his latest and ambitious project in the field of research medicine: his wager on that known as ‘precision medicine’.
An initiative still awaiting approval in Congress and the Senate, with which Obama proposes to allocate an initial budget of $215 million to developing a database with the genetic data of one million citizens, which will serve as a starting point to prepare treatments tailored as much as possible to the condition of the patient, enabling the future development of a practically ‘a la carte’ therapy, thanks to which, among others, side effects will be reduced; a breakthrough that is especially useful in treating illnesses such as cancer or diabetes, though its implementation could be extended to any ailment.
Of the total amount of $215 million that Obama plans to set aside for this project, 130 million will be used to create a national genetic data search and classification program for a million volunteers, managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While the National Institute of Cancer, supported by the NIH, will receive some $70 million earmarked for the identification of cancer driver genes. Lastly, and given that the protecting the data of the voluntaries is the aspect of greatest concern for the President, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be granted a $10 million budget to develop new regulations on the matter and for privacy protection; while, according to Forbes, the remaining $5 million will end up in the National Coordination office.
An ambitious project which announcement has already been compared by some with that of Kennedy, when he launched the race to the moon; something that Obama is especially proud and optimistic about. “Because something called ‘precision medicine’, in some cases known as ‘personalized medicine’, gives us the unprecedented opportunity to make new medical discoveries”, the President assured.