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Harper government invests in personalized medicine

This press release is available in French.

Ottawa, Ontario -- The Harper Government today announced an important investment that will help Canadians in getting more effective treatments and make the healthcare system more sustainable through personalized medicine. The announcement was made by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

"Our Government is committed to improving the quality of life of Canadians," Minister Aglukkaq said. "The potential to understand a person's genetic makeup and the specific character of their illness in order to best determine their treatment will significantly improve the quality of life for patients and their families and may show us the way to an improved health care system and even save costs in certain circumstances."

Personalized medicine offers the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare to patients. Healthcare will evolve from a reactive "one-size-fits-all" system towards a system of predictive, preventive, and precision care. Areas in which personalized approaches are particularly promising include oncology, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders, diabetes and obesity, arthritis, pain, and Alzheimer's disease. In all of these fields, and others, a personalized molecular medicine approach is expected to lead to better health outcomes, improved treatments, and reduction in toxicity due to variable or adverse drug responses. For example, cancer patients would be screened to identify those for whom chemotherapy would be ineffective. In addition to saving on the costs of expensive drug treatments, this personalized treatment would prevent a great deal of suffering, while identifying and initiating earlier treatments that would be more effective.

"I applaud Genome Canada and the CIHR for their leadership in supporting research in personalized medicine," said Minister Goodyear. "Innovative approaches like these lead to significant health benefits, enhance our knowledge within the medical arena and can be commercialized to help so many others worldwide."

Contact: Adele Blanchard
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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