Europe Should Implement Personalized Medicine

Photo: Pills and European flag

A current report gives key recommendations
to implement personalized medicine in the
European health care systems;
© Vukoja

Dedicated funding and support is required to ensure personalized medicine can be implemented across Europe’s healthcare systems, according to the report entitled Personalized Medicine for the European Citizen. It brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to identify the most pressing issues affecting the development and implementation of personalized medicine across Europe. Key stakeholders, from patient groups to regulators to industry and academia were consulted through a series of meetings designed to facilitate the discussion on the key issues.

Personalized 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 characterized populations.

Professor Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton and a leading expert in the consultation commented: “Personalized medicine has become increasingly important in the future of healthcare. By targeting patients with specific treatment programs tailored to the individuals needs.” The report outlined a series of recommendations under four core headings:

1. Data handling: 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.

2. Models and decision-making processes: 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.

3. Interdisciplinarity, participation and translational research: 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 personalized medicine and healthcare.

4. Infrastructure and resources: 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, the Chair of the European Medical Research l Councils (EMRC): “We hope that the recommendations in our report will now be taken up by stakeholders throughout Europe to ensure the successful introduction and sustainable implementation of personalized medicine.”; Source: European Science Foundation