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Obama Administration Unveils $215M Precision Medicine Initiative

February 2, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The White House Administration has unveiled details about its precision medicine initiative, a $215 million investment in President Barack Obama’s nearly $4 trillion 2016 budget.

The initiative, which the President touched on in his State of the Union address last month, will aim to pioneer a new model of patient-powered research to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients. The $215 million investment will provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH), together with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) support for various projects including: 

  • $130 million to NIH for development of a voluntary national research cohort of a million or more volunteers to propel our understanding of health and disease and set the foundation for a new way of doing research through engaged participants and open, responsible data sharing.
  • $70 million to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of NIH, to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge in the development of more effective approaches to cancer treatment.
  • $10 million to FDA to acquire additional expertise and advance the development of high quality, curated databases to support the regulatory structure needed to advance innovation in precision medicine and protect public health.
  • $5 million to ONC to support the development of interoperability standards and requirements that address privacy and enable secure exchange of data across systems. Just recently, ONC released a first draft of its interoperability roadmap, calling for national standards by the end of 2017.

“The potential for precision medicine to improve care and speed the development of new treatments has only just begun to be tapped. Translating initial successes to a larger scale will require a coordinated and sustained national effort,” the Administration said in a prepared press release.  “Through collaborative public and private efforts, the precision medicine initiative will leverage advances in genomics, emerging methods for managing and analyzing large data sets while protecting privacy, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries.  The initiative will also engage a million or more Americans to volunteer to contribute their health data to improve health outcomes, fuel the development of new treatments, and catalyze a new era of data-based and more precise medical treatment.”

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