In the past decades, precision medicine has revolutionized how cancer patients are diagnosed and treated. By tailoring treatment to a specific disease driver, and taking into account a person’s genes, environment and lifestyle, researchers can target the right patients with the right medicine at the right time. And when scientists find something that works, they think, what’s next? What if precision medicine could be leveraged to help fight diseases other than cancer?
This is the question AbbVie drug researchers and developers want to answer, said Ian McCaffery, Ph.D., Vice President of Precision Medicine.
Precision medicine – or “PMed” as it’s called around AbbVie’s labs and hallways – is spearheaded by McCaffery who joined AbbVie in March 2020 and brought with him 20 years of precision medicine experience with most of that time in the biotech industry. At AbbVie, his team of almost 200 researchers spans from the west coast to the east coast to Europe.
“I remember when patients were diagnosed with cancer – it was considered one disease,” McCaffery said. “Then, advancements like precision medicine helped researchers understand the complexity of the disease, and how a person’s genetics change the disease and change how to treat that disease. We're learning that like cancer, immune-related diseases are not uniform and have different drivers. We are working to identify and target those drivers.”