A UK pilot project for mass genetic screening of cancers will begin next month. The project will combine personalized medicine and centralized research, with the aim of benefiting patients and scientists.
Surplus material from biopsies on the tumours will be sent to three centralized laboratories and tested for specific genes and mutations. Eventually it is hoped that this information can be used to tailor treatments to a patient’s cancer. At the same time, the data will be held centrally and offer researchers a resource for improving medicine from the top down.
This could be an interesting way forward to increase the knowledge processes beyond what is possible with isolated information gathering and judgment in different regions or hospitals.
But… there is still this problem that public medical organizations must act as a top-down organization and ratify different treatment methods accordingly. That is why it will take some time and why they are careful and add:
The new pilot programme will not actually influence treatment decisions, because it is a proof of concept. But if successful, it could provide a model for bringing personalized medicine to the United Kingdom. This is likely to be increasingly important as, for example, drug companies look to identify which patients will benefit from expensive targeted therapies before they are administered.
Could this work in the U.S.?