FDA's Role in the Precision Medicine Initiative
Most medical treatments are designed for the “average patient ” as “one-size-fits-all-approach,” that is successful for some patients but not for others. Precision medicine, sometimes known as "personalized medicine" is an innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment that takes into account differences in people’s genes, environments and lifestyles.
Advances in precision medicine have already led to powerful new discoveries and several new FDA-approved treatments that are tailored to specific characteristics of individuals, such as a person’s genetic makeup, or the genetic profile of an individual’s tumor. Patients with a variety of cancers routinely undergo molecular testing as part of patient care, enabling physicians to select treatments that improve chances of survival and reduce exposure to adverse effects.
To advance these developments, President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative seeks to identify genetically-based drivers of disease in order to develop new, more effective treatments. FDA’s role is to ensure the accuracy of genetic tests, many of which are derived from next generation sequencing, a rapid and fairly inexpensive technology that collects data on a person’s entire genome. Researchers are combing through segments of this data to look for genetic variants, potentially meaningful differences that might eventually result in a treatment.
What FDA is Doing Now
However, the vast amount of information generated through next generation sequencing (NGS) poses novel regulatory issues for FDA. Recognizing these challenges, FDA is at work on a workable regulatory platform that will encourage innovation while ensuring accuracy. To get there, we’ve been issuing discussion papers, holding workshops and collaborating with our stakeholders.
FDA's Informatics Platform
In addition, FDA has created precisionFDA, a community research and development portal that allows for testing, piloting, and validating existing and new bioinformatics approaches to NGS processing.
What FDA Officials Are Saying
Reports and Discussion Papers
- Optimizing FDA’s Regulatory Oversight of Next Generation Sequencing Diagnostic Tests (PDF - 424KB)
Paving the Way for Personalized Medicine(PDF - 854KB)
- Developing Analytical Standards for NGS Testing (PDF - 164KB)
- Use of Databases for Establishing the Clinical Relevance of Human Genetic Variants (PDF - 156KB)
- 11/13/2015: Use of Databases for Establishing the Clinical Relevance of Human Genetic Variants
- 11/12/2015: Standards Based Approach to Analytical Performance Evaluation of Next Generation Sequencing In Vitro Diagnostic Tests
- 02/20/2015: Optimizing FDA’s Regulatory Oversight of Next Generation Sequencing Diagnostic Tests Public Workshop
- 09/24-25/2014: Next Generation Sequencing Standards