The Promise and Challenges of Incorporating Precision Medicine
Joseph Alvarnas, M.D.
Samarth Kulkarni, Ph.D.
Huntington F. Willard, Ph.D.
Moderator: Angela Haupt, Assistant Managing Editor, Health, U.S. News & World Report
Gene therapy has arrived, with CRISPR gene-editing technology getting to the human trial stage for certain blood disorders and cancers, and the approval of a drug to treat an inherited form of blindness. CAR T-cell treatments and a number of drugs targeted to specific gene mutations hold great promise against cancer, and medical experts see potential against other diseases as well. Several health systems and the NIH are scrambling to collect biobanks full of patient data that they expect to inform precision medicine going forward. Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has moved to cover next-generation genome sequencing for Medicare patients with advanced cancer. Still, many obstacles remain. Given the rapidity of advances on this front and their great expense, for example, payers have been slow to get on board, leaving many people without access. This session will explore how precision medicine is apt to affect patient care in the near term and the obstacles providers must consider as they weigh their investment in it.