Stratified (personalised) medicine

4. Challenges

Personalised medicine requires that researchers develop more targeted medicines for a smaller patient group. These are likely to be used by fewer patients than ‘blockbuster’ medicines that treat more common diseases or conditions. The cost of developing a medicine is extremely high, so there has been concerns if the pharmaceutical industry can make targeted medicines profitable.

However, one advantage of targeted medicines is that they increase the efficiency of clinical trials. For example, if new medicines target a known cause of a disease, fewer medicines should fail at each stage of the development process. As explained earlier in this topic (section 3.3), the use of biomarkers is key to this work, and this is also explained in detail in the EUPATI biomarkers topic.

For personalised medicine to progress, new findings from molecular research, and new technologies (such as ‘omics’ technologies), must be translated (adapted) for use in clinical trials.