Cleveland Clinic has become the latest to jump into the hot field of personalized medicine, announcing plans to open a center dedicated to the growing movement.
The Clinic said its Center for Personalized Healthcare would initially focus on offering health providers tools that will tailor care plans to patients’ individual characteristics, according to a statement from the health system.
It’s no secret why anyone in the healthcare industry would want to move into personalized medicine — the field is expected to attract more and more dollars in the future. The worldwide pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics segment of the market is $24 billion and growing at 10 percent a year, according to a 2010 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Dr. Kathryn Teng, an internal medicine specialist with Cleveland Clinic, will lead the new center. “In the first year, we plan to create awareness of, and supply physicians with, additional resources that allow collection and analysis of family medical history,” she said.
“We want to more precisely understand who needs the right treatment at the right time, and eventually be able to use diagnostics to stratify people into more precise populations to prevent them from getting sick,” Dr. Clay Marsh, director of the Center for Personalized Healthcare, told MedCity News last month.
While a standard definition of personalized medicine may be hard to come by, the term generally refers to tailoring patients’ treatment regimens to their own genetic and molecular signatures. The concept is important because some estimate that about half the amount spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. is wasted because, for various reasons, certain drugs simply don’t and won’t work on certain patients.
In the early going, the Clinic’s personalized healthcare center will focus on supplying health providers with the resources they need to create personalized care plans based on their patients’ unique characteristics, such as genetics, environmental exposures, cultures and beliefs, according to the statement.