The University of Glasgow will receive £20 million to develop a research centre dedicated to personalised medicine.
The Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre (SMS-IC) will also involve research groups from other Scottish universities, NHS Scotland, and industry collaborators. Launched by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond at the South Glasgow Hospitals Campus, the centre is scheduled to open in September 2015.
Scientists at the SMS-IC will examine patients' genetic makeup and study how that relates to responses to different treatments. Ultimately, the researchers hope to use this knowledge so that treatment can be better tailored to each patient.
One goal of personalised medicine is to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare. For example, genetic analysis might show that a normally first-line medicine would have little chance of success for an individual patient, in which case they could be started on a course of treatment that would be more likely to work.
Use of this information would also carry economic benefit. A statement from the University of Glasgow claims that 'of the £595 billion global spend for pharmaceuticals in 2011, an estimated £393 billion was used for therapies which did not produce the desired effect'.
Professor Anna Dominiczak, Vice-Principal and Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Glasgow adds: '£124 billion is spent in the UK on healthcare each year, with medicines accounting for £12 billion of the total. Even a small increase in efficiency created through better targeting of treatment would save the UK tens of millions of pounds each year'.
Work will initially focus on chronic diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. The Scottish Funding Council will provide £8 million of the total £20 million funding over five years.
The SMS-IC is one of three Innovation Centres announced by Salmond. Together, the centres will receive £28 million from the Scottish Funding Council and could create 2,000 jobs over the next five years.
The First Minister called them 'an exciting new collaboration between all parts of public life, with Scottish industry, higher education institutions, multinationals, our small- and medium-sized enterprises and our public sector partners working together to provide solutions to demand-led problems facing industry in Scotland by supporting innovation for future growth'.