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Bicameral, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Form Congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus

The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) today announces its support for a new bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus formed by Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Tom Emmer (R-MN). In collaboration with PMC, the four co-chairs have scheduled an introductory briefing for February 26 to educate Congress and the public about the benefits of earlier detection, targeted treatment, and improved prevention strategies in personalized medicine. The briefing will take place from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the North Congressional Meeting Room of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC Room 268).

Personalized medicine, sometimes called individualized or precision medicine, is a rapidly evolving field in which physicians use medical interventions to assess or alter the molecular characteristics, often genetic, that cause or contribute to certain diseases or predict whether certain patients will respond to various treatments. By recommending lifestyle changes to patients with certain molecular risk factors, detecting diseases at earlier stages when they are easier to treat, and matching small groups of sick patients to molecularly guided therapies that often address the root causes of disease, personalized medicine can improve outcomes, target treatments to only those patients who will benefit from them, and eliminate the need for costly hospitalizations, thus making health systems more effective and efficient.

But in part because the U.S. designed its governmental regulatory and reimbursement systems in an era of one-size-fits-all medicine, the country has sometimes had difficulty advancing and adopting the more sophisticated diagnostics and customized treatments underpinning personalized medicine, which include genomic sequencing tools, targeted therapies, and gene and cell-based therapies. If lawmakers do not address these public policy obstacles or if they unintentionally put additional barriers in place, the country may foreclose the opportunities associated with personalized prevention and treatment plans.

“The co-chairs should be commended for convening a bipartisan group of lawmakers who are committed to advancing personalized medicine to improve patient care and make our health system more efficient,” said Edward Abrahams, President, PMC. “PMC looks forward to supporting the caucus as it seeks to accelerate progress toward this new and promising era in health care.”

Remarks from each of the co-chairs are appended below.

“Through the Personalized Medicine Caucus, we will take steps to nurture scientific advancements that may reverse the genetic and molecular causes of rare and common diseases, bringing new hope to American patients and lasting benefits to our health care system.”

– Sen. Tim Scott

“Raising awareness of the benefits of personalized medicine helps detect and prevent diseases, while making health care more affordable and accessible for Arizona families.”

– Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

“As genomic sequencing becomes less expensive, opportunities increase to diagnose patients sooner and treat them more effectively. This caucus will go a long way toward ensuring that all American patients benefit from these and other transformative scientific developments in personalized medicine.”

– Rep. Eric Swalwell

“The Personalized Medicine Caucus will help bring Congressional attention to new biomedical innovations and advance policies that alleviate the suffering of American patients who are affected by cancer and other devastating diseases.”

– Rep. Tom Emmer