In January 2015, President Obama launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), a bold new research effort to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease. Precision medicine is about empowering both patients and health care providers with the information and tools they need to tailor treatment and prevention strategies to patients' unique characteristics.
When he launched the PMI, President Obama called for all hands on deck to continue the kinds of progress that are already beginning to transform the ways we treat diseases such as cancer. Patients with breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, as well as melanomas and leukemias, routinely undergo molecular testing as part of their care, enabling physicians to select treatments that improve chances of survival and reduce exposure to adverse effects. This is precision medicine in action. But there is so much more promise and potential to be unlocked – and we need to extend the successes we’ve seen to other diseases that affect Americans and people around the world.
Today, to mark six months of progress to advance the PMI, the White House is hosting a Champions of Change event honoring extraordinary patients, researchers, innovators, and advocates who are making a difference in people’s lives and driving precision medicine forward. These individuals are harnessing the power of data to improve our understanding of health and disease in order to improve patient care.
In addition to celebrating these Champions, the Administration is releasing a set of draft guiding principles to protect privacy and build public trust as the PMI develops. These principles will guide the development of a research cohort of one million or more participants who voluntarily contribute their health data to help us answer the many as yet unsolved mysteries of health and disease. These principles are being made available today as a working draft, with the intent of soliciting the broadest possible input and feedback from stakeholders, experts, and the public.
And importantly, federal agencies and private-sector groups are also stepping up to the President’s call to action by making important commitments to:
We are heartened by the progress that has been made in just six months to advance precision medicine. We look forward to continued collaboration and engagement with the patient, provider, privacy, research, and data and technology communities to unleash the full potential of the President's PMI.
Brian Deese is Senior Advisor to the President. Stephanie Devaney is Project Manager of the Precision Medicine Initiative, White House Office of Chief of Staff.