The term “Stratified Medicine” describes a cultural shift in the medical community away from blanket drug prescription – where the same drug is given to all patients, even though it may be ineffective in some, or toxic to others.

Instead, stratified medicine identifies the genetic reason for patient response to a drug, and tailors personalised therapy plans suitable for a patient’s individual genetic make-up.

SMS-IC is one of 8 Innovation Centres established in 2012/13 by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The Centres aim to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship across Scotland’s key economic sectors, create jobs and grow the economy. Upon initiation, SMS-IC created and installed a novel Next Generation Sequencing genetics laboratory and an innovative high throughput datacentre.

The Centre now presents as one of the key drivers in the movement towards delivering Stratified Medicine, which is high on the immediate agenda of every healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company and international government across the globe today.

SMS-IC has a unique organisational structure, whereby the Centre operates as a 10-member consortium involving Thermo Fisher Scientific, Aridhia, 4 universities and 4 NHS Health Boards. As such, SMS-IC has achieved an unprecedented level of collaboration and partnership from key players across Scotland and the wider world. Each institute brings specific elements to the partnership, working together to accomplish larger and more challenging goals than if attempted alone by any one partner.

Initial joint funding from SFC, Aridhia and Thermo Fisher Scientific has allowed us the Centre to install offices, genetics lab and datacentre in a custom built facility within Scotland’s new “super hospital”, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, and to hire the initial team of 9 key professionals, including project managers and scientists. The lead institute of SMS-IC is the University of Glasgow, and the dynamic 10-member collaboration was originally facilitated through the drive and vision of key leaders within the university, who reached out and motivated the other 9 institutes to join and support this ground-breaking initiative.

SMS-IC comprises a truly novel partnership enabling academia, industry and the NHS to work together to achieve much more challenging goals with more impact, than if any one partner had attempted them individually. This partnership holds enormous future potential to continually provide lasting positive impacts for all partners involved as they work together to make the promise of Stratified Medicine a reality for Scotland.

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