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Methodology for stratified medicine




The MRC has set stratified medicine as a priority area and will commit £60m to over the next four years. Patient response to drug treatments and therapeutic interventions varies markedly across the population as a result of differing underlying mechanisms of disease and patient responses to both disease and treatment.

Stratified medicine (also known as personalised medicine or precision medicine) can be described as identifying the different strata within a disease and the deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning these strata.

Stratification will allow targeting of treatments to specific disease pathways, identification of treatments effective for particular groups of patients, and codevelopment of diagnostics to ensure the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time.

Following consultations with a range of stakeholders, the MRC has adopted a disease-focussed approach to stratified medicine and has recently launched a major call to develop this. In addition, there is also need to develop new methods to underpin this field and the MRC/NIHR Methodology Research Programme seeks to encourage new research to address these challenges with the launch of this highlight notice.

Highlight Notice

Stratification of patients raises a number of important methodological challenges particularly around biomarker identification and evaluation, trial design, regulatory approvals, health informatics, health economics and public perceptions. The MRC/NIHR Methodology Research Panel wishes to support high quality, investigator-led, methodological research into the challenges raised by stratifying patient groups through this highlight notice.

In accordance with the remit of the MRP, applications should not focus on the application of existing research methods, but specifically support methods development research where the proposed outputs are generalisable beyond an individual case study and where methods development is the primary purpose of the research.

Successfully funded proposals

For details of successfully funded proposals under the stratified medicine highlight click here.

Application process and schedule

The titles of all applications in response to this highlight should be prefixed with ‘HSM:’ when filling out the JES form, and on any attachments, e.g. “HSM: A method for…”

Applications are invited through the normal MRC funding schemes and will be considered at the regular MRP Panel meetings. These will be in competition with other applications received, but the Panel will be mindful of the strategic importance of this area.

Browse our funding opportunities.

Contact and guidance

You are encouraged to discuss your proposals with MRC Head Office at an early stage; please contact:

Contact: Dr Sam Rowley