The Stratified Medicine Programme

We are proud to be a pharmaceutical sponsor of the Stratified Medicine Programme, a collaborative initiative started in 2010, that aims to make a difference to patients with cancer through ‘precision’ medicine.1


Stratified Medicine Programme


The multi-million pound collaborative programme involves the NHS, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network, the Technology Hubs in Birmingham, Cardiff and London (centralised quality assured molecular diagnostic NHS laboratories), the Departments of Health for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the University of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU). It is also is being supported by a range of organisations such as Cancer Research UK, technology providers and the Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK), private providers and the pharmaceutical Industry.2

The Stratified Medicine Programme overarching aim is to explore ways of making targeted therapies available for people with cancer in the UK, also known as precision medicine.1

Precision medicine is the concept of tailoring medical treatment to a patient based on their own characteristics. This means that not all patients suffering the same condition receive the same treatment, instead their unique attributes enable them to be sub-categorised into treatment groups, providing a more targeted treatment.

In order to achieve this, genetic tests need to be carried out to identify these different patient groups. This is where the Stratified Medicine programme aims to help.


The Stratified Medicine Programme 1

The first stage of the Stratified Medicine Programme (SMP1), ran from July 2011 to July 2013 and was set up to test the feasibility of running a genetic pre-screening programme within the existing NHS infrastructure.1

Doctors in eight Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres or Clinical Hubs carried out genetic tests on the tumours of more than 10,000 people with breast, bowel, lung, prostate, ovarian and melanoma skin cancers.1 SMP1 demonstrated how the NHS can routinely provide molecular diagnosis for patients with solid tumours.1


The Stratified Medicine Programme 2

SMP2 aims to ensure that the NHS is ready for the new era of precision medicine and consists of two parts:

  • The national genetic pre-screening programme
  • The multi-arm multi-stage National Lung Matrix Trial

Using an expanded network of 18 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres or Clinical Hubs, it aims to screen 2,000 advanced lung cancer patients per year, to identify the key genetic faults driving the growth of their cancer.1

Patients are then split into groups according to shared genetic features of cancer.2

Eligible patients are then considered for the National Lung Cancer Matrix Trial, who hope to determine which patients benefit most from different treatments.2


We hope that this work will have a broader impact, beyond lung cancer, and bring targeted medicines to even more patients.



  1. Cancer Research UK. Our Stratified Medicine Programme and the National Lung Matrix Trial Accessed Nov 2021.
  2. ECMC. ECMC Annual Report 2014-15 Accessed Nov 2021.


PP-PFE-GBR-4103 / November 2021