Burr, Obama Introduce the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007

Bill aims to give patients a better understanding of what causes certain diseases; North Carolina researchers lead in field

March 26, 2007

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Barack Obama (D-IL) recently introduced the bipartisan Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007. The legislation, S. 976, aims to advance the study of human genes and their functions to better predict patients' susceptibility to certain diseases or conditions, and better customize drugs and medical treatments to meet patients' unique needs. This field, called personalized medicine, has the potential to transform medical care. Personalized medicine can help patients and doctors detect disease onset much earlier and reduce disease progression through custom-made medical treatments and products.

"I believe this legislation will help improve the quality and safety of health care by providing a better understanding of what causes certain diseases," Burr said. "Through a coordinated research initiative and a focus on safer genetic tests, patients and doctors will be empowered to make better decisions about medical treatments."

"I am proud that North Carolina is a leader in genomics and personalized medicine research," Burr said. "Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy are both conducting significant research efforts in this area and support a stronger federal focus on genomics. This legislation will increase federal support for initiatives at Duke and Chapel Hill - a win-win for North Carolina and patients."

Specifically, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2007 would:

Establish an Interagency Working Group at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pull together and speed up genomics research by developing standardized terminology, and establishing quality standards and guidelines for the collection, processing, and storage of genomic samples and data.
Advance genomics research by establishing a national database that collects genomic data to simplify data analysis.
Develop biobanking initiatives at academic medical centers across the country, including biobanks containing biological specimens.
Improve genetics and genomics training by developing model training programs, residency curricula, and teaching materials.
Encourage drug sponsors and device companies to develop companion diagnostic tests.
Improve the safety and effectiveness of genetic tests, which identify disease triggers, by improving federal oversight and regulation of such tests.
Evaluate direct-to-consumer marketing of genetic tests to which consumers have direct access, and educate the public about genomics and how it can be used.
Assess the clinical usefulness and cost-effectiveness of genetic tests that help guide prescribing decisions.

Senator Burr is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP).

For more information go to https://www.burr.senate.gov

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