Leading health experts are pushing for personalised health care in a new report by the European Science Foundation's (ESF's) membership organisation and the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC). According to the report, dedicated funding and support is required to ensure personalised medicine can be implemented across Europe's healthcare systems.
The Forward Look report titled, 'Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen', brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to identify the most pressing issues affecting the development and implementation of personalised medicine across Europe. Key stakeholders, from patient groups to regulators, industry and academia were consulted through a series of meetings designed to facilitate the discussion on the key issues.
Personalised medicine, a strategy based on individual phenotyping of profiles rather than the long established 'one-size-fits-all' approach identifies elements that predict the individuals' response to treatment and their predisposition to disease. This healthcare model places heavy emphasis on the maintenance and investment of these cohorts providing a healthcare system with a modern, prospective approach; an essential strategy for the analysis and understanding of disease over time in well characterised populations.
Professor Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton (UK) and a leading expert in the consultation commented, "Personalised medicine has become increasingly important in the future of healthcare, by targeting patients with specific treatment programmes tailored to the individuals needs".
Alongside Professor Holgate, the scientific committee responsible for compiling this report included:
Professor Aarno Palotie, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Helsinki University (FI)
Professor Barbara Prainsack, Centre for Biomedicine & Society (CBAS), Brunel University (UK)
Professor Angela Brand, Institute for Public Health Genomics (IPHG), Maastricht University (NL)
Professor Hans Lehrach, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (DE)
The report outlines a series of recommendations under four core headings:
Comprehensive, accessible and interoperable datasets must be generated to support the development of a new disease taxonomy and allow for its ongoing refinement and application.
Models and decision-making processes must be revised to reflect a focus on the individual. This should happen at all levels, from assessment of the safety and efficacy of interventions, through HTA and reimbursement to diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
Emphasis must be placed on stakeholder participation, interdisciplinary interaction, public-private and precompetitive partnerships, and translational research in order to develop the frameworks that support the vision of personalised medicine and healthcare.
Dedicated funding and governmental support must be provided to ensure the availability of core infrastructure, including access to core technology and frameworks for education and training of professionals and the wider community.
Professor Liselotte Højgaard, EMRC Chair (2006/2012) commented, "We hope that the recommendations in our report wil now be taken up by stakeholders throughout Europe to ensure the successful introduction and sustainable implementation of personalised medicine".
The full reportcan be downloaded here.