In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama revealed hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested in the “Precision Medicine Initiative.”
According to the White House press release: “Launched with a $215 million investment in the President’s 2016 Budget, the Precision Medicine Initiative will pioneer a new model of research that promises to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.”1
In other terms, this is a subsidy to help pharmaceutical companies to develop a new generation of drugs, as those currently selling have shown their limitations. A transfer from public money to private “too big to fail” pockets, all in the name of science. Something similar to famous President Nixon’s call in 1970 for the “War of Cancer” that we have yet to win. (The current administration actually implicitly acknowledges the failure of the “War of Cancer” by making “more and better treatments for cancer” the first objective of the Precision Medicine Initiative.)1
At the cost of $130 million, this project will include the creation of large database of people allowing research on their genes to be shared. (Anybody who has studied criminology knows how dangerous genetic profiling can be, and how a less sophisticated version of the same scientific vision has led to “social eugenics” in the past). $70 million will go “to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge in the development of more effective approaches to cancer treatment.” 1
This effort will probably help some pharmaceutical companies come up with some highly patentable new techniques to address genetic diseases. A great example is the recent vote by British lawmakers to allow scientists to create babies from the DNA of three people — a move that could prevent some children from inheriting potentially defective mitochondria from their mothers. (Defects in the mitochondria can result in diseases including muscular dystrophy, heart, kidney and liver failure and severe muscle weakness.)2
But once again, it is not taken into account that most of our genes do not have to be considered a curse: they can be activated or silenced by the effect of the environment.
This is exactly what Dr. Mirko Beljanski already brilliantly demonstrated with his Oncotest in the 80s, when mapping the human genome was poised to become the answer to all diseases by the end of the 20th century. Our daily choices regarding our environment, our diet, our lifestyle, our use of clean personal hygiene products, do make a difference, and that difference is called prevention. But that’s not patentable.