WASHINGTON (New York Times) — Declaring that “the possibilities are boundless,” President Obama on Friday announced a major biomedical research initiative, including plans to collect genetic data on one million Americans so that scientists can develop drugs and treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients.
Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the studies would help doctors decide which treatments would work best for which patients.
White House officials said the “precision medicine initiative,” also known as personalized or individualized medicine, would begin with a down payment of $215 million in the president’s budget request for the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1.
Precision medicine “gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new medical breakthroughs that we have ever seen,” Mr. Obama said at a White House event attended by patients’ advocates, researchers, and drug and biotechnology company executives. “The time is ripe to unleash a new wave of advances in this area, in precision medicine, just like we did with genetics 25 years ago,” Mr. Obama said. One study of that earlier effort, he said, found that “every dollar we spent to map the human genome has already returned $140 to our economy.”