Personalised medicine for disease prevention
Medical practitioners are increasingly adopting a 'personalised medicine' (PM) approach involving individually tailored patient care. An EU-funded project is fostering collaboration on PM research and training, with special emphasis on the prevention of chronic diseases.
© Robert Kneschke #123206297 2019, source:stock.adobe.com
Under conventional medical practice, symptoms are used to diagnose diseases and medications are used to treat the symptoms. Personalised medicine identifies the factors that predispose a person to a particular illness and the molecular mechanisms that cause the condition. Treatment and prevention strategies are then tailored to the individual.
The EU-funded PRECEDI project is working to support collaboration among a variety of institutions on PM approaches to chronic disease prevention. Participants are carrying out an innovative research programme and a set of training projects.
A starting point for personalised medicine is the classification of people based on their characteristics. These can include genetic make-up, disease biomarkers, treatment history and environmental factors. Molecular profiling and the use of therapies that target a diseases genetic traits are two pillars of this approach.
The multidisciplinary nature of PM makes it exceedingly difficult for any single institution to carry out a truly comprehensive PM research programme. PRECEDI comprises a range of institutions working on different facets of PM. These include basic research, economic evaluation, health service organisation and ethical, social, and policy issues, all with specific reference to the prevention of chronic diseases.
In order to harness the potential of PM as a potential driver of innovation in the healthcare industry, the PRECEDI consortium provides a cohesive framework for training staff from academic and non-academic institutions on PM-related research topics.
Trainees are acquiring skills through dedicated secondments, focusing on research topics not available at their home institutions. A variety of PM- and chronic disease-related courses, workshops, seminars and conferences are also being organised.
Ultimately, the PRECEDI project team expect to provide further evidence of the clinical validity and utility of PM.
The project received funding through the EUs Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme.