Scotland is set to become a “global centre of excellence” in precision medicine, tackling diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis thanks to a £4 million government investment.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the money on a visit to the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and heard how it will be used to keep Scotland at the forefront of global efforts to tackle complex diseases.
Precision medicine is the practice of linking detailed biology such as DNA to health and disease, allowing treatment to be tailored to the individual characteristics of each patient.
The investment will see the establishment of a ‘Precision Medicine Ecosystem’ that will co-ordinate precision medicine resources and opportunities across Scotland, bring together the findings from individual research projects and improve information sharing in the fight against diseases.
The funding will also support two flagship national programmes:
- ‘Precision Panc’ will use state of the art techniques to better characterise pancreatic cancer, allowing patients to be recruited to clinical trials efficiently and quickly.
- ‘Future MS’ will study multiple sclerosis at the genetic level to help answer why the condition progresses differently in individual patients.
The First Minister said:
“This is a really exciting development that could transform how we treat some of the most serious illnesses.
To be able to analyse the DNA of a tumour, for example, to determine how best to fight that patient’s cancer, is a fascinating step forward in medical science and something that this Government is absolutely committed to investing in.
The Precision Medicine Ecosystem will undoubtedly reap benefits for patients in Scotland, by speeding up the development of new medical therapies and enhancing the health care treatment options that are on offer for patients.
This Government will continue to strive to further enhance Scotland’s growing reputation as a global centre of excellence for clinical research.
Continued investment in precision medicine can undoubtedly help bring health and wealth benefits for generations to come.”