The State of Personalized Medicine: Great Progress, Yet Looming Challenges

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at the Personalized Medicine Coalition’s Annual State of Personalized Medicine Luncheon. As I told that group, I am excited by the power and potential of personalized medicine, and humbled by the daunting challenges before us. 

I am excited by the potential to address unmet medical needs of patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many other serious diseases. I also see the great promise of personalized medicine to help us meet the challenge of rising healthcare costs by avoiding treatment complications and making sure each patient gets the most effective care possible.

The biopharmaceutical research sector is strongly committed to advancing personalized medicine. A recent survey by theTufts Center for the Study of Drug Development found that 94% of our companies are investing in personalized medicine, and have increased that investment by 75% over the past five years.  As we saw with some of the exciting findings reported this month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, this investment is beginning to yield results, promising better treatments for melanoma, lung cancer and other diseases.

Despite the promise and the deep commitment of biopharmaceutical companies to advancing personalized medicine, I am also truly humbled by the challenges we must overcome for the sake of patients who need these advances. The obstacles are broad and include scientific, business, regulatory and policy barriers.

Together we must break down the barriers and move this field forward. I urge the personalized medicine community to work together to accelerate the field for the benefit of our healthcare system and patients everywhere.

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