As the White House prepared to announce a national effort to boost precision medicine research and techniques, President Barack Obama gave a preview of the new initiative and stressed the importance of individualized care in a Thursday op-ed for The Boston Globe.
“We wouldn’t buy a pair of glasses that doesn’t match our eyesight, and though plenty of people break their arms, everyone gets fitted for their own cast,” Obama wrote. “Our health care should be customized for us.”
The op-ed announced a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and various regional health care providers and clinics, including the Cambridge-based Broad Institute, a biomedical and genomic research center co-operated by MIT and Harvard. The goal of such relationships is to gather health data from more than 1 million willing patients, allowing doctors to understand why certain treatments work better for different individuals, he wrote in the op-ed.
“The health, environmental, and lifestyle information this diverse group will provide will be analyzed by qualified scientists to generate new insights and one day bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes,” Obama wrote.
The president stressed the importance of further developing precision medicine treatments, noting that such health care techniques have made breakthroughs in research and treatments related to cancer and heart disorders.
“Precision medicine gives us the chance to marry what’s unique about America — our spirit of innovation, our courage to take risks, our collaborative instincts – with what’s unique about Americans – every individual’s distinctive genetic makeup, lifestyles, and health needs,” Obama wrote. “In doing so, we can keep ourselves, our families, and our nation healthier for generations to come.”
Read the full Globe op-ed here.