Precision medicine is more than just a scientific concept or an academic theory. At its heart is a promise to bring better treatments and faster cures to patients, to improve lives around the world.
And it all begins with one person understanding this enormous potential, demanding a new standard of health care, and allowing his or her genetic data to inform researchers looking at diseases on a global level. The power of these individuals could revolutionize the practice of medicine.
UC San Francisco seeks to harness this power by embarking on a public awareness campaign that focuses on how precision medicine can impact one person: a little girl whose genetics suggest that she could one day develop a potentially fatal form of breast cancer. What if we could prevent that from ever happening? What if we could prevent that from ever happening to someone you love?
MeForYou.org challenges us to pose those questions and calls on us to take action, first by educating ourselves and others about precision medicine. The website asks people to pledge their support for the cause by making a simple dedication that can be shared on social media.
The campaign at MeForYou.org was launched during OME 2013, a gathering of more than 150 top thought leaders representing biomedical research, health care, technology and public policy to chart the course of precision medicine. The unprecedented summit – which brought National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg, MD, and other distinguished participants to UCSF’s Mission Bay campus for two days of working sessions – produced several ambitious initiatives aimed at building networks to analyze the wealth of biological data and removing the obstacles to implementation.
MeForYou.org is a key piece of the implementation strategy. It’s about creating a new social contract that calls on people to take ownership of their own health and the health of their loved ones.
Precision medicine cannot work without the contributions of individuals who want their own health information (including genetics, blood test results, responses to medications and reactions to therapies) to someday inform a global knowledge network that can better connect innovative research to patient care. In the meantime, they can start by making a dedication of support on behalf of someone they love, to ensure that person a healthier future.