What personalised medicine means

Personalised medicine address the challenges of 

  • common medicines not being effective in treating large numbers of patients
  • rising healthcare costs due to more prevalent chronic diseases and an ageing population

It does this through tailor-made prevention and treatment strategies for individuals or groups so patients receive the specific therapies that work best for them, and no money is wasted on trial and error treatments.

Personalised medicine infographic

Definition of personalised medicine

Although there is no universally accepted definition, the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group defines personalised medicine as 'a medical model using characterisation of individuals’ phenotypes and genotypes (e.g. molecular profiling, medical imaging, lifestyle data) for tailoring the right therapeutic strategy for the right person at the right time, and/or to determine the predisposition to disease and/or to deliver timely and targeted prevention.'

This definition was also used by EU Health Ministers in their Council conclusions on personalised medicine for patients, published in December 2015.

International Consortium for Personalised Medicine (ICPerMed)

Over 30 European and international members representing research funders and policy-making organisations, together with the European Commission as an observer, established an initiative called the International Consortium for Personalised Medicine, ICPerMed. It was launched in November 2016.

ICPerMed works to

  • establish Europe as a global leader in personalised medicine research
  • support the personalised medicine science base through a coordinated approach to research
  • provide evidence to demonstrate the benefit of personalised medicine to citizens and healthcare systems
  • pave the way for personalised medicine approaches for citizens

ICPerMed have developed a common action plan with central research and research-supporting activities in all areas relevant to personalised medicine.

Read more about the initiative and the action plan.

Data sharing and personalised medicine

A communication on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the digital single market was adopted in April 2018.

It identifies 3 main priorities

  1. citizens' secure access to their health data, also across borders
  2. personalised medicine through shared European data infrastructure
  3. citizen empowerment with digital tools for user feedback and person-centred care

Priority 2 is related to research.

Data in the EU: Commission steps up efforts to increase availability and boost healthcare data sharing

Digital health and care - eHealth

Digital health and care refers to tools and services that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of health and lifestyle. 

Policy, documents and further information on eHealth

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