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19 December 2017

posted Dec 19, 2017, 6:31 AM by Beck Lockwood   [ updated Dec 19, 2017, 7:03 AM ]
Discussing the future of precision medicine

NIHR DEC Leeds was invited to take part in two international events focusing on the future of precision medicine.

The first of these, the inaugural HealthEx World Forum, was held in London in November. Organised by Biotech and Money, the event was an opportunity for senior executives from pharma, health technology finance and government to discuss solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the health industry.

A series of Leaders Forums enabled participants to focus on specific areas, including immuno-oncology, neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience, cell and gene therapy, and precision medicine.

Dr Mike Messenger, Deputy Director of NIHR DEC Leeds, attending the Precision Medicine Forum, said: “One of the major challenges in precision medicine is finding ways to maximise the use of health and care data and routine clinical samples. In particular, we need to establish robust frameworks that enable innovators and researchers to collaborate with the NHS to access these resources. Such a framework could enable us to specifically identify and target participants to take part in precision clinical trials and studies more efficiently and at scale across the NHS.

“There’s a wealth of data available – if we can connect it across different organisations and make it available for research that would really put the UK at the forefront of precision medicine.”

The second event, held in Belfast, saw more than 650 delegates discussing personalised medicine issues at a Congress organised by the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine. Topics addressed included the needs of patients; the roles of education and training; healthcare regulation; and the research and development agenda.

The Leeds DEC chaired a panel discussion during the Congress involving Dr Beth Shinkins, Dr Geoff Hall and Dr Mike Messenger, entitled ‘A Tale of Two Cities: a whole system approach to personalised medicine and health’, comparing approaches in Lombardy, in Italy, and Leeds, in the UK.

“There was a lot of synergy between both these cities, both in terms of the organisations involved, and the issues being addressed, such as ageing populations and the move towards prevention, personalisation of care and self-care,” explained Dr Messenger. “In particular, we could see how both regions were making progress towards implementing policy that enables access to data and, through that, drives research and health service improvement."

“There are still many challenges to negotiate, including the General Data Protection Regulation and Brexit. But, there was strong agreement that the UK should stay well aligned with the EU to continue to be a successful leader in the field of precision medicine.”