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Obama Moves to Extend U.S. Lives. Impossible for Him? Let's See

February 18, 2015 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

After such customary Obama administration un-American news as “US Will No Longer Report Guantanamo Hunger Strikes” (ABC News/AP, December 4) there suddenly appeared in the New York Times that the President was announcing “a major biomedical research initiative, including plans to collect genetic data on one million Americans so scientists could develop drugs and treatment tailored to the characteristic of individual patients” (“US to Collect Genetic Data to Home Care”, New York Times, Jan. 31, 2015).

Although I have been continually critical of Obama, what drew me to this story was the name of the reporter, Robert Pear, who broke the story at the bottom of page 12 of the Times (a story that should have been on the front page).

For years, I have learned more about health care from Robert Pear than from any other journalist.

Here he tells us that precision medicine, also known as personalized or individualized medicine, “gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new breakthroughs that we have ever seen,” as Obama declared at a White House event attended by patients’ advocates, researchers and bio-technology company executives.”

Among the listeners was, yes, a Republican: Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee “and chairman of the Senate health committee, who said he intended to work with the president on the issue.”

And, for once, Obama made immediate sense: “If we’re born with a particular disease or a particular genetic makeup that makes us more vulnerable to something, that’s not our destiny, that’s not our fate.”

Robert Pear shows the way ahead: “Federal officials described the project as a research consortium that would collect information from large numbers of people.

“The data could include medical records, laboratory test results, profiles of patients’ genes, and information about their diet, tobacco use, lifestyle and environment.”

And dig this quote from Dr. Baselga, chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York:

“We dreamed of this. We can mine the genome of tumors from our patients, identify mutations responsible for the tumors, and accelerate improvements in patient care.”

Robert Pear lists, among Obama’s structural plans, his intent “to seek $10 million for the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates technology used to analyze DNA. Such analysis can identify millions of genetic variants, providing information that would help diagnose or treat some diseases, officials said.”

Moreover, he continued, “since the 1980s, researchers have been collecting and storing human tissue and other biological specimens in repositories known as biobanks.”

He …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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