Breakthroughs in healthcare promise a future in which the individual sits at the centre of medical decisions. But who has paved the way and who is leading the next wave? We have sought out a selection of key influencers in our article, Pioneers of Precision Medicine.
Our understanding of the mechanics of disease, as well as the influence that an individual's genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle have on treatment outcome, is constantly growing. And these developments are ushering in an era of 'precision medicine', in which medical decisions can be based on an individual's specific circumstances to deliver treatments likely to provide the greatest benefit. This not only has obvious advantages for patients, but also promises greater cost-efficiency through improvements in treatment outcome and patient compliance, as well as smoothing the path to market for new treatments.
It's primarily this potential for reduced costs that has brought major governments on board. The highest-profile endorsement so far came in 2015, when then US President Barack Obama signed a bill authorising $1.45bn in funding for the All of Us Research Program. The initiative, run by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is now working on a monumental project to collect genetic and health data from one million US citizens, with the aim of advancing precision medical care in the nation. 'You can match a blood transfusion to a blood type ... What if matching a cancer cure to our genetic code was just as easy, just as standard?' Obama said at the time. 'What if figuring out the right dose of medicine was as simple as taking our temperature?'
It's certainly an attractive prospect, but which people and projects are making precision medicine possible? How is it already changing lives, and what challenges are faced by this new model for healthcare?
Mewburn Ellis are experts in obtaining patent protection in the field of precision medicine, with a diverse line-up of experienced intellectual property professionals forming a dedicated precision medicine team. Read our blog - precision medicine: the next revolution in healthcare.
Read more in Forward magazine
Pioneers of Precision Medicine is taken from Forward magazine, the biannual publication which celebrates the best of innovation and exploration from an IP firm that has been forward-looking for more than 150 years. Sign up to read the full magazine.
The first edition features:
- Dr Zoe Laughlin - co-founder and director of the Institute of Making
- Playing for Time - the strategies that can help extend a drug's patent life
- Two's Company - we trace the journey of a unique engineering team
- Full Steam Ahead - how one craft brewer brought new brands to a crowded market
Read more in our precision medicine blog series:
EU approves first gene therapy for patients with a mild form of β-Thalassemia
Precision therapeutics for the precision medicine era
Personalised medicine: patient stratification
Commercialising genomic research in the US: tips for obtaining patent protection
Bioinformatics Inventions: Patenting challenges at the interface of computer and life sciences
Fighting cancer with CAR-T therapies
China - a key player in the global precision medicine race
The importance of Innovation Hubs in the UK's North West Region
Precision medicine: ethics, regulation and patent law