President Obama with Emily Whitehead At the invitation of the White House, CHOP sent two guests to President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative announcement on Jan. 30, 2015: CEO Steven M. Altschuler, MD, and 9-year-old patient Emily Whitehead, now cancer-free due to a personalized treatment called T cell therapy.

The Precision Medicine Initiative, which President Obama first announced in his State of the Union speech, calls for new funding to build a national infrastructure to help sophisticated biomedical data flow from health clinics to DNA sequencing labs and back again as innovative treatments. The National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of National Coordination for Health Information Technology are involved in this program, which will allow researchers to custom-design therapies based on a patient’s genetic profile. 

"I am thrilled that President Obama recognizes the promise of our nation’s research efforts by making this investment. Today’s announcement signifies his commitment to bringing this issue to the forefront of our national agenda," said Dr. Altschuler.