April 6, 2010
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In a very informative Kaiser Health News interview (via GenomeWeb), Francis Collins says that
“personalized medicine strategy and CER strategy are part of the same question. … There will often be more than one therapeutic intervention, so you have to compare them. But you also want to know what’s different about the individual that might have an influence on that answer.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
January 7, 2010
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Late last year, a PwC report made the rounds with a big headline number — $232 billion — as the size of the personalized medicine market. FierceBiotech called it a “tipping point,” for personalized medicine. George Church called us “the first genomic generation” in Newsweek, and Francis Collins’ new book “offers practical advice on how to utilize these discoveries for you and your family’s current and future health and well-being” (at least according to its publisher).
And this isn’t just idle speculation, it’s being reflected in real investments. Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, University College London, and the Wellcome Trust are developing a £500 million new home for their partnership, called the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), where “genomic technologies will play a key role in the array of research its partners plan to pursue there.”
However, there are real challenges to realizing the 11% annual growth rate PwC predicts.
- Health care providers need to learn a whole new language and a whole new set of tools and approaches. A new year-long project at Valparaiso University aims to meet the new criteria of the nursing curriculum essentials in genetics that are set by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), but this is just the tip of the iceberg. (h/t @mikesgene)
- Even when health care providers are educated, it doesn’t mean that the market will grow. For example, there is high awareness (80-90%) of a new genetic test designed to reveal a breast cancer patient’s sensitivity to tamoxifen. However, according to research from Duke University Medical Center, “[a] greater awareness of the emerging data for this new test corresponded to less likelihood of ordering the test and lower likelihood of changing practice based on test results.” (emphasis added) (h/t @DukeIGSP)
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimiation Act loopholes are still intimidating. GINA does not expressly cover long-term care and other types of insurance and is focused to some extent on prohibitions on requiring genetic tests (which will be moot when everyone’s full genome is sequenced). Some efforts to remedy or mitigate GINA loopholes are underway, including:
However, many patients (and, anecdotally, everyone in the insurance industry) are vociferously refusing genetic testing and sequencing.
- FierceBiotech notes that the PwC report itself identifies another caveat: “Big Pharma will have to bury its blockbuster business model in favor of a more “collaborative model.”
My bottom line: Those who are counting on seeing the growth predicted by PwC will have to make an unprecedented investment in educational and regulatory changes to sychronize with the unquestionably giant strides in product innovation that are occuring daily.
For more on personalized medicine, check out the Biotech Trends in 2010 page.
August 7, 2009
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Today saw three significant confirmations by the U.S. Senate of interest to the biotech community:
We had some earlier info on Collins when he was nominated, including the exciting science game “Three Degrees of Francis Collins.”
Kappos spoke on behalf of IBM at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on patent reform in March, and Dani has been writing about patent reform as one of our Trends in 2009.
July 9, 2009
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Over to you, White House press release:
“President Obama said, ‘The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.’”
Bonus: See this very well-timed (if not very optimistic) piece in Nature News today on the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the CF gene (by Collins and Lap-Chee Tsui, the latter then at Sick Kids in Toronto).
Bonus #2 — Three Degrees of Francis Collins: I did my Ph.D. in Doug Bishop’s lab. Doug did his post-doc in Nancy Kleckner’s lab. Nancy and Francis Collins were elected to the National Academy of Sciences together in 1993. Ta da! Your turn…