Welcome to the very first post from the new Centre for Personalised Medicine (CPM) blog.

In this post we will introduce you to the CPM, and give you a sneak-peak into the posts we have planned for the near future. We hope you are as excited about these as we are!

So what is the CPM?

The CPM is a partnership between the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WHG) and St Anne’s College, at the University of Oxford. It is a forum for communication and engagement that brings together students, academics, clinicians, and the public, to explore the benefits and challenges of Personalised Medicine. We are a group of academics and scientists who are passionate about different areas of personalised medicine – you can find out more about individual members of our team here. We also work closely with the student run Oxford Personalised Medicine Society.

But what is this ‘personalised medicine’ you speak of?

Personalised medicine is a broad field that aims to use what we can measure about individuals to inform healthcare. In particular, how can we effectively analyse the vast amounts of data that are being generated in our world today and use it to more effectively diagnose and treat patients, as well as predict disease risk in the population. For example, we know that some people are more susceptible to certain diseases, or to having specific health issues. When we try to treat these conditions, some individuals respond better to certain drugs and therapies. Understanding the reasons for this variability, whether it be underlying biology, socioeconomic factors, or environmental influences, can help identify the best drug to give to the right patient, and/or highlight strategies to prevent disease in vulnerable communities. As another example, a single genetic change that is unique to an individual can cause a severe childhood developmental disorder. Identifying this genetic change, and understanding how it leads to this disease, can help us design individually tailored treatments for that child. In other cases, using individual-level data on millions of molecular and physical measures may help us improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment for groups of individuals.

Whilst we believe that personalised medicine is hugely powerful when done right, it also raises a lot of challenges. It is both these benefits and challenges that the CPM is here to discuss.

The CPM was first formed in 2013, and since then has hosted a series of talks, seminars, and events on a wide range of aspects relating to personalised medicine. Recordings of many of these talks can be viewed here.

So what can I expect from the CPM blog?

Like most people over the last year, the CPM has had to adjust to a more virtual life. Whilst we are sad not to be able to host events in person right now, this has also allowed us to broadcast events to a much wider audience. We have also started this blog, and are working on a new podcast series, to further embrace bringing our mission to the masses. 

So here is an insight into what content you can expect on this blog:

  1. Posts from us, and from guest writers exploring different aspects of personalised medicine.
  2. A ‘what does personalised medicine mean to me?’ series, where we will direct questions to people and groups working in, or impacted by, personalised medicine.
  3. Introductory posts to accompany our brand new podcast that will be launching very soon.
  4. Posts summarising our events and lecture series, or providing alternative opinions on what our speakers discuss.

We hope you enjoy reading our upcoming blog posts. Please get in touch with any feedback, or with any suggestions or other content you would like to see.

Written by Nicky Whiffin, CPM Junior Research Fellow