You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes that don’t fit, and wear them until you had blisters. And so, as patients become more empowered, medicine becomes personalised, it begs the question- why are we still prescribing treatments which do not fit the individual?
Well, thankfully with the dawn of genomic medicine, combined with the technologies and the power of supercomputers and AI, we seem to be carving a path to truly personalised medicine, and in the Nordic region there is a lot to shout about. All of these factors seem to be creating the perfect storm for precision medicine to flourish, and what better place than the Nordic countries where one can safely argue that the data collection of the past decades sets somewhat of a benchmark. To unlock this data goldmine will give the Nordics a head-start whilst other nations look on in envy.
In the past 2 years the precision medicine movement has been gathering pace. It was back in 2016 that the first announcement came out of the Danish Ministry of Health that they would implement a precision medicine initiative, and, excitingly the first steps toward the National Genome Centre followed pretty quickly. Just last month Novo Nordisk Foundation approved a framework grant of DKK 990 million (€133 million) over 4.5 years for establishing and operating the infrastructure of the National Genome Centre. The Foundation has awarded DKK 102 million of this to begin setting up the Centre’s data and information technology unit immediately in 2019.
Finland, forever a hotbed of tech innovation is leading the way with a number of initiatives, not least Business Finland’s personalised health programme that makes use of Finnish innovation and top-level research that creates new business around individualised healthcare platforms.
Genomic Medicine Sweden provides more positive steps toward ubiquitous precision medicine. Following recent funding from Vinnova, project manager Richard Rosenquist Brandell, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet and Chief physician at Karolinska University Hospital stated” With this initiative we want to introduce the new sequencing techniques in healthcare all over the country. With these technologies we can make considerable improvements in diagnostics, and also individualized follow-up and care for each. GMS will already from the start deliver diagnostics for patients with rare diseases and cancer.”
There are many interpretations as to what precision medicine really is. Is it all about sequencing individuals? What role can multi-omics play? How can imaging, AI and Big Data play their role? Or are there easy wins with Pharmacogenomics? Whatever your take on it, it is undeniable that we are finally on the path to a future of personalised medicine.
You can find out a whole lot more, and meet with and hear from those who are shaping the future of medicine across The Nordic Countries at the 3rd Annual Nordic Precision Medicine Forum (18-19 March Stockholm).
For readers of this blog you can take advantage of a 20% discount on your registration using the code SSCI.
To view the agenda and register visit www.precisionmedicineforum.com
There are limited spaces so you had better get your running shoes on – I hope they fit!