Where's the Economic Stimulus for Personalized Medicine?
With so many billions in funding flowing from the US government through the NIH and a consistent buzz around comparative effectiveness research, the question "Where is the economic stimulus money for personalized medicine?" is one that advocates and innovators are beginning to ask in earnest.
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Formed by the 2009 merger of CELLective DX and DNA Repair Co., On-Q-ity Inc. is developing personalized molecular diagnostics for cancer. The start-up thinks that combining DNA repair biomarkers with its ability to capture and analyze circulating tumor cells provides a complete view of an individual patient's pending treatment options and allows for more patient-friendly monitoring of the treatment's progress. On-Q-ity is currently conducting large-scale trials analyzing the response of DNA repair mechanisms to breast cancer therapies, focusing particularly on the anthracycline class of drugs. Initial studies are based on tissue samples, but the company will begin trials with circulating tumor cells in various cancers later this year.
The goals of comparative effectiveness research and personalized medicine might appear at odds or at least as leading to divergent paths, with one focusing on the best treatment for a population and the other on the best treatment for an individual
Medco is developing data that could accelerate the adoption of personalized medicine--as a way to make itself more relevant to customers and the lives they represent. Armed with infrastructure from its mail pharmacy business and access to medical information on large groups of people, it is financing and conducting studies to show the value of pharmacogenomic tests in improving clinical outcomes. By so doing, it could become an incredible enabler of companies pursuing personalized medicine.