Leavitt Promotes Personalized Medicine

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Personalized Medicine

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Thursday at a Harvard Medical School conference said personalizedmedicine is necessary to help transform the health care system into one thatpromotes value, rather than volume, the Boston Globe reports. According to Leavitt, the Human Genome Project and related research efforts can deliver on the promise of personalizedmedicine only through a transformation of the health care system to one thatpromotes improved care for patients, rather than more care for more patients.He said that the health care system should focus on four areas: electronichealth records, standardized measures of quality, transparency of prices andincentives to promote higher-quality, lower-cost care.

"I am persuaded that personalized health care creates value," Leavittsaid, adding, "The goal is to have better health care at lower cost forevery American" (Cooney, Boston Globe, 11/29).

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Framingham Heart Study To Examine GeneticFactors

In related news,researchers on Thursday celebrated the 60th anniversary of the ongoing Framingham Heart Study and said the study will begin toexamine genetic factors linked with diseases as part of a program calledFramingham SHARe, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. For the study, which beganin 1948, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have trackedthe lifestyles and medical histories of more than 14,000 residents of Framingham, Mass.The study, sponsored by the National Heart,Lung and Blood Institute at NIH, has led to more than 1,200 scientific papersand has helped determine risk factors for cardiovascular disease -- such assmoking, hypertension and high cholesterol levels.

Leavitt said, "When health researchers hear the words 'Framingham study,' it's like 24-caratgold," adding, "The consistency and data that's come from that longperiod cannot be replaced." Christopher O'Donnell, director of FraminghamSHARe, said, "When we find something in Framingham, you know you're findingsomething that's likely to be seen in the general population," adding,"It's a real-life laboratory, if you will, of the genetics ofdisease" (Lindsay, AP/Los Angeles Times, 11/30).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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