A diagnosis of a complex disease like cancer or Alzheimer's can devastate patients and their families. The impact is widespread in Indiana: roughly two in five Hoosiers will eventually develop cancer. Today, we have every reason for hope in the face of these diagnoses—thanks to biomedical innovators. The Precision Health Initiative (PHI) is bringing some of these innovations to Hoosier patients. PHI builds on IU's legacy of biomedical breakthroughs—like the structure of DNA—to transform health through the application of research results.
The Precision Health Initiative is the first recipient of Indiana University’s Grand Challenges Program. Through this initiative, we're investing $120 million to transform biomedical research, health care innovations and the delivery of health interventions in Indiana. This ambitious plan seeks to:
Cure at least one cancer
Cure at least one childhood disease
Find a preventative solution to one chronic illness
Find a preventative solution to one neurodegenerative disease, like Alzheimer's
PHI is led by Anantha Shekhar, Associate Vice President for Clinical Affairs at IU and Executive Associate Dean for Research at the IU School of Medicine. PHI will enhance the prevention and treatment of disease by looking at all the factors that we now know impact an individual's health. Factors like lifestyle and genetics. Through a more precise analysis of these genetic, developmental, behavioral and environmental factors, PHI will establish and apply individualized treatment.
The goal of precision medicine is to get the right prevention or treatment to the right patient at the right time, and this initiative will enable us to do that for Hoosiers across the state.Anantha Shekhar
Though its objectives are bold, the approach is true to the process of scientific and medical discovery. To accomplish the Precision Health Initiative goals, Indiana University will:
- Build new research programs and state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to precision health
- Hire 39 new, full-time faculty members
- Create new and expanded degree, certificate and professional medical education programs
- Bring transformative, patient-centered therapies and prevention into clinical use in Indiana
- Work closely with several prominent business and community partners, including Eli Lilly and Co., Roche Diagnostics, Cook Regentec, Deloitte, Regenstrief Institute and IU Health
What is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine is a highly personalized approach to prevention and treatment that takes into account individual variables in genes, environment and lifestyle. This customized approach allows doctors and researchers to more accurately predict which treatment and prevention strategies will be effective for each patient.
Precision medicine is in direct contrast to a more generalized one-size-fits-all approach, which aims to develop treatment and prevention plans for the average person, without attention to the myriad personal and environmental factors that impact each individual's health. The goal is to find the right medicine for the right patient at the right time-right here in Indiana.