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Obama Prioritizes Personalized Medicine

The President is launching a new initiative to help researchers and clinicians fully realize the dream of “precision medicine.”

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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JANE ADES, NHGRI Science advocates certainly took note of President Barack Obama’s overtures to the American research enterprise in his recent State of the Union address. In particular, Obama’s brief announcement regarding what he called “precision medicine”—more commonly referred to as personalized medicine—piqued the community’s interest. “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 during last week’s address.

“As I was watching [the address] I was delighted,” Richard Weinshilboum, acting director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, told US News & World Report. “The timing is excellent.”

According to The New York Times (NYT), Obama’s initiative will be fleshed out more thoroughly when he presents his budget to Congress...

Advances in genomics have helped make personalized medicine a clinical reality in scattered instances, and several patients have benefitted from the tailor-made approach. Officials from both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the initiative would include money to fund research and regulatory mechanisms to evaluate new diagnostics.

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