Challenges of personalized medicine for top European clusters
<p>“Personalized medicine will change the healthcare landscape on a global level.” This is how <a href="https://eatris.eu/"><span class="s1">EATRIS</span></a> Scientific Director Toni Andreu expressed his conviction that personalized medicine will play an important role in tackling the challenges facing the healthcare system and help ensure each patient gets individualized treatment. He did so at an event organized by Biocat, with the EATRIS European infrastructure and the Council of European Bioregions (CEBR), held online in June.</p>
With the title “Personalized Medicine: Working Together for Accelerating Transfer and Adoption with an Ecosystem Perspective”, the session featured Anton Ussi, Operations and Finance director at EATRIS; Julia Schaft, managing director of BioRN; Josep Antoni Ramos Quiroga, head of Psychiatry at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital; Dimitrios Athanasiou, EMA Pediatric Committee member, member of the 2nd board of directors for the European Patient Forum and of the World Duchenne Organization; and Kaja Kantorska, Policy Officer Pharmaceuticals for the European Commission DG for Health and Food Safety.
This event is “Biocat’s contribution to the imperative of working together to advance and accelerate innovation in the value chain of personalized medicine,” noted the organization’s Scientific and International Relations Director Montse Daban, and it addresses the results and conclusions of the panel held last September at the presentation of the BioRegion Report.
Anton Ussi presented the flagship project: Eatris-Plus, which Biocat is also taking part in and which aims to build capacities and offer innovative scientific tools for personalized medicine in Europe. This project “pools the funding, data, tools and research instruments needed to accelerate the adoption of personalized treatments in Europe,” he highlighted.
In the second part of the event, the panelists shared the various mechanisms to accelerate transfer and adoption of personalized medicine. Dimitrios Athanasiou highlighted some of the challenges that must be tackled, like the sustainability and efficiency of personalized treatments, and clarified that, from a financial standpoint, “there is enough money, but there are issues that can complicate investment.”
Another difficulty that has to be addressed, according to the panelists, is transferring innovation and access to personalized therapies. On this matter, Julia Schaft noted that transferring scientific successes to medicine “is one of the biggest bottlenecks we are facing right now.” But, once they have been transferred, the availability of personalized therapies can be really unequal and problematic “especially for rare diseases,” noted Kaja Kantorska.
Josep Antoni Ramos spoke about one of the main advantages of personalized medicine: cutting costs. This representative of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital believes it will be a huge opportunity to ensure the system’s sustainability. But even more importantly, he considers personalized medicine to be a great opportunity to save lives, preventing serious side effects, for example.
In conclusion, all the panelists shared their desire to continue working with all the groups involved to tackle the challenges discussed. “It is possible that personalized medicine will be the real game-changer for the healthcare system. But for that to happen, we have to bring together all the stakeholders involved: policymakers, industry, patients, payers, researchers. When we work together, we can break the silos that have been built over the past few years and really bring about the progress we are seeking in personalized and advanced treatment,” noted the Scientific Director of EATRIS.