Stratified Medicine

Stratified Medicine

The Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform seeks to build on the UK’s strength within the global healthcare industries and put it at the centre of the next generation of medicine. Its seven partner organisations will together invest around £200m over 5 years in the area of stratified medicine.  The investment will go into innovative technological R&D in areas such as improved tumour profiling in cancer, accelerating the validation and adoption of biomarkers, and the uptake of medicines and companion diagnostics in the NHS. The vision is for the UK to be the best place to develop, and have adopted, stratified medicine.

The Stratified Medicine Innovation Platform aims to help accelerate the rate of development and uptake of stratified medicines in the UK, for the benefit of patients, healthcare providers and business. It is a partnership of seven organisations that have agreed to work together and combine resources to achieve this:

• Technology Strategy Board
• Medical Research Council
• Department of Health England
• Scottish Executive Health Directorate
• Cancer Research UK
• Arthritis Research UK
• National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

What is stratified medicine?

Even the best medicines are not equally effective in all patients. It is estimated that only 30-70% of patients respond positively to any particular drug. Recent advances in science, particularly in molecular biology and genomics, mean that it is sometimes possible to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms of disease (in particular their genetic causes) in patients.

Developing diagnostic tests that indicate the molecular cause of a disease enables the development of treatments that can more precisely target the disease. They show that disease processes and treatment choices can vary from person to person even though they may have similar symptoms. Although these technologies are quite new, they have the potential, when used on their own, or in combination with other diagnostic technologies, to predict which patients will respond to a given treatment. 

Predicting in advance which groups of patients will respond to a particular therapy is termed stratified medicine (or personalised medicine). It has sometimes been summarised as providing “the right therapy, for the right patient, in the right dose, at the right time”
There are already a few medicines on the market that work in this way, such as Herceptin (certain forms of breast cancer), Iressa (lung cancer) and Gleevec (leukaemia and gastrointestinal cancers).

Potential benefits

• Patients receive more effective drugs with fewer side effects giving better outcomes
• Time and money wasted trying unsuitable medicines is avoided
• Accelerating the development and availability of new diagnostics, medicines and treatment pathways benefits patients, healthcare providers and business.


Last updated on Thursday 08 December 2011 at 15:54

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