Personalised potential

In July 2013 the Academy released the report, Realising the potential of stratified medicine which highlighted the development of a stratified and increasingly personalised approach to medicine is being hampered by incompatible regulation and pricing systems that are not set up to enable their effective widespread adoption.

Stratified medicine is an approach to therapy that forms a key step on the path towards personalised healthcare. It assesses patients’ genetic or biological makeup to help medical practitioners create a more targeted treatment plan, based on the individual’s risk of disease or their response to a particular treatment. This tailored approach could help to maximise the impact of therapies administered to patients and avoid unnecessary side effects.  However, despite rapid advances in research and technology, existing systems for clinical development, regulation, pricing and reimbursement are preventing the widespread development and adoption of stratified and increasingly personalised medicine.

Professor Sir John Bell FRS HonFREng FMedSci, Chair of the Academy of Medical Sciences group that produced the report said ‘Fast and efficient progress in the stratification – and ultimately personalisation – of medicine will rely on the collection, storage and analysis of significant amounts of data regarding the molecular and genetic basis of disease. This data-driven approach to medicine requires the development of appropriate infrastructure and working practices to provide the high quality data needed to personalise medicines to individuals.’

Current pricing and reimbursement systems do not provide adequate incentives for the development of personalised medicines. A new system of pricing needs to be developed that enables prices to be adjusted over time to reflect the increases in value.’

‘Stratified medicine offers promising advances to patients across the UK and worldwide. Embracing this technology, and empowering researchers in the field, will help the UK remain at the forefront of this pioneering approach.

The Academy will hold a stakeholder meeting in November with the aim to discuss the implementation of the recommendations in the report. Attendees will consider relevant plans, progress and opportunities for action – including the identification of short-term gains and long-term goals. In addition, we have initiated discussions with the Technology Strategy Board on the recommendation to expand the UK Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform.

Watch – Could personalised medicine be the future of healthcare in the UK?

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