The Precision Medicine Initiative Continues

Earlier this year I talked about the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which detailed a path to provide Americans with stronger customized medicine thanks to genetic research.

We saw an entire industry pop up overnrnight when the FDA told Big Genomics company 23andMe it had to sell its health data to drug and biotech companies.

Essentially this means that anytime a patient gets his or her blood drawn, spits in a cup, or gets a biopsy, medical teams can use this information to develop stronger datasets to diagnose and treat ailments.

And while the Precision Medicine Initiative hasn’t cured major diseases across the board just yet, we’re starting to see some preliminary wins.

Last week the FDA approved Orkambi, a combination of two drugs that repairs faulty proteins in patients who suffer from cystic fibrosis.

And later this month the FDA is looking to approve a new class of cholesterol-lowering medication called PCSK-9 inhibitors. The cool thing is, they developed this based on the information gathered from people with naturally high and naturally low cholesterol levels to determine what the characteristics are of each.

Finally there’s the new field of immunotherapies, which stimulates a body’s own immune system to attack disease based on advanced genetic testing. This approach relies on matching a treatment with whatever faulty DNA is causing the disease.

Even with all the breakthroughs, precision medicine still has its critics. They argue people need to make lifestyle changes to overcome diseases. But by this point, we know that doesn’t necessarily work for the most advanced diseases.

Whatever the case, precision medicine is sticking around for the foreseeable future, and is still quickly gaining momentum.

Ben Benoy

Ben Benoy

Editor, BioTech Intel Trader