Experts Say Precision Medicine Could Go Beyond Treating Rare Diseases

November 11, 2015

Precision medicine took center stage at a congressional briefing last week, with members of industry and researchers saying its use could lead not just to therapies for rare diseases, but also for more common conditions, such as obesity and heart disease.

Ongoing work in precision medicine includes the tissue chip for drug screening, an initiative promoted by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. In cooperation with the FDA and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the center is eyeing testing drug candidates on tissue chips that, when combined, mimic the function of complex systems. This sort of testing would yield better results than generic mouse or human and could be done at the same time as clinical trials.

Initiatives such as tissue chip can combat some of the challenges currently facing industry, including a poor transition of basic or clinical observations into interventions that can help human health, the expense and risk of trying to bring a drug, device or diagnostic to market, an inefficient clinical trial system and poor adoption of demonstrably useful interventions.