What is Precision Medicine?

Precision medicine is about diagnosing and treating patients in a way which is specific to them, thereby giving the greatest chances of success. This involves:

  • Precise diagnosis – using data insights to more effectively group patients based on their predicted response to treatments
  • Precise treatment – delivering treatments for groups of patients that are reliable, repeatable and with the fewest side effects
  • Precise outcomes – understanding the impact of those treatments on patients and what affects those outcomes might have.

The importance of precision medicine

The Precision Medicine Catapult (PMC) is working to make the UK the best place in the world to develop and practice precision medicine. Our aim is to remove barriers to its evolution and create conditions for the UK to enjoy world-leading success in the market for this still new science.

The reason for this work is clear. Worldwide, we need to use finite healthcare resources more effectively to ensure sustainability. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are seeing healthcare spending rising on average 2% points a year faster than GDP growth, suggesting healthcare costs will become unsustainable for all these countries by 2050. Faced with such a challenge, it is clear that the development of precision medicine is not just exciting, but absolutely essential.

The challenge is to create the right environment to develop these new medical breakthroughs quickly and bring them to market. We are establishing strong networks with academia, government, healthcare organisations and businesses to help them develop new ideas. We are also working to establish links to commercialise new medical developments and bring them quickly to the patients that need them most.

Why the UK is best-placed to drive precision medicine

The UK is one of the best places in the world for life sciences. That’s because it has:

  • 4 of the world’s top 10 universities
  • 10 of the world’s top 100 universities
  • 1 of the world’s 3 major financial centres
  • A growth in innovative science-based companies
  • Increased funding opportunities
  • World-class charities and medical research
  • The world’s largest healthcare system – the NHS
  • Supportive regulatory environment (NICE and MHRA)
  • Excellence in precision medicine including initiatives such as 100,000 genome project

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