At a cocktail reception in Boston last week ahead of an annual meeting on personalized medicine, attendees milled around not talking about the latest advances in genomics or the challenges of companion diagnostics development. They were too preoccupied with the impact of the Presidential elections the week before.
Will the new administration value genomics research and personalized medicine projects going on around the country that depend on government funding? How will a change in administration and priorities impact projects such as the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) and the Cancer Moonshot? Who will head up the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the US Food and Drug Administration? And will these new government officials continue efforts of the last administration to advance data sharing, privacy protections, and integrated systems critical for the implementation of personalized medicine?
Mention precision medicine, and genomics quickly comes to the top of mind. While genomics and clinically oriented analysis are extremely valuable in implementing precision medicine as the next step in population health management, they are really only a small part of the big picture.
Increasingly, the value of environmental, social and lifestyle factors that live outside the medical system is also getting recognized in the effective implementation of personalized medicine in this country. The federal government’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) that calls for $215 million in fiscal year 2016 to support research in this area focuses not just on genetics and biology, but also behavior and environment — “with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.”