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2016 budget includes $215 million for Precision Medicine Initiative

February 3, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The Precision Medicine Initiative proposed by President Barack Obama in his Jan. 20 State of the Union address would launch with $215 million in funding under the 2016 budget he announced Monday.

The initiative will fund research that considers “individual differences in people’s genes, environments and lifestyles,” according to a White House fact sheet. “Precision medicine gives clinicians tools to better understand the complex mechanisms underlying a patient’s health, disease or condition, and to better predict which treatments will be most effective,” the White House said, adding that the approach already has transformed the way cancer is treated but that further funding is needed to sustain care improvement and treatment development in a coordinated way.

“Through collaborative public and private efforts, the Precision Medicine Initiative will leverage advances in genomics, emerging methods for managing and analyzing large data sets while protecting privacy, and health information technology to accelerate biomedical discoveries,” according to the fact sheet. “The initiative will also engage a million or more Americans to volunteer to contribute their health data to improve health outcomes, fuel the development of new treatments and catalyze a new era of data-based and more precise medical treatment.”

The budget proposes to fund the initiative through:

  • $130 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enable the development of a voluntary national cohort of at least 1 million volunteers willing to share data; 
  • $70 million to the NIH's National Cancer Institute to increase efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge to develop more effective approaches to cancer treatment;
  • $10 million to the Food and Drug Administration to acquire additional expertise and advance the development of databases to support the needed regulatory structure; and
  • $5 million to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to support the development of interoperability standards and requirements that address privacy and enable secure exchange of data across systems.

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