PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE spoke to SciTech Europa about the importance of precision medicine and individual therapies.
Precision medicine can be described as a form of medical care that matches each patients disease on its specific molecular level with treatment options. These options can then define the individual therapy, that will in turn, optimise the value-based patient outcome. The individual variations that precision medicine consider (such as variations in genes, environment and lifestyle), leads to the importance of each patient having their own individual digitised molecular structure across multiple levels (such as genomics and microbiomics).Founded in Berlin, PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE (PMA) is an international network-alliance for precision medicine, which connects a variety of people, including patients, medical doctors, precision medicine suppliers and hospital providers.
The ultimate goal of PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE is to connect all stakeholders to their value-based platform and establish a ‘PRECISION MEDICINE FIRST’ in the clinical world for an optimal outcome for each individual patient; including a sustainable performance of the healthcare system. SciTech Europa (SE) spoke with PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE founder Patrick E Hofmann and Dr Henri von Blanquet MD about the role PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE plays in the precision medicine industry, as well as the importance of raising awareness.
Hofmann started by describing some of the main functions of PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE. He said: “One of the main functions of PMA is to develop best practice standards, alongside building a hospital provider and supplier network. In addition to this, another main function is to communicate the results and trends in the precision medicine industry at conferences.
Dr von Blanquet added: “At PMA, we strive towards raising awareness for the integrity of biology. Therefore, we are now developing a White Paper for ‘the Precision Handling of the Biology’ with a leading university hospital. Continually, we started in 2017 to raise the red flag for the integrity of the biology for precision medicine and we now have a process of defining best practice standards for precision handling of the biology.”
Personalised prevention programs more effective in maintaining health
According to Hofmann, PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE places a significant focus on precision prevention because “avoiding disease is critical for improving the global populations health; particularly in aging societies and the future of our healthcare systems. We have found that tailored personalised prevention programs that are based on molecular diagnostics, are more effective in maintaining health. Therefore, PRECISION MEDICINE ALLIANCE promotes ‘Scientific Wellness’ prevention programmes”.
However, the precision medicine industry faces some challenges. Hofmann said: “one of the challenges that the industry faces today, is the insufficient amount of reimbursement by insurance payers for molecular diagnostics and therapies. In addition to this, the industry also sees a lack of scalable processes of precision medicine, at both provider and supplier levels, and a lack of standardisation of processes for precision handling of the biology.”
In terms of technological development, Dr von Blanquet added: “This has improved the costs of next-generation sequencing (NGS), which has in turn, made precision medicine applications more affordable for patients.” For example, advanced NGS technologies has seen the price of genome sequencing dramatically drop. In 2016, it was said that NGS-Whole Genome Sequencing now costs less than $1,000 (~€890.46), compared to the first whole genome sequencing project costing approximately $3bn in 2000. This has therefore allowed a mass number of patients to receive individual precise molecular diagnosis, resulting in opportunities of individual tailored therapies. In addition to this, “the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and the increasing number of cases, has also led to improved outcomes for patients. What we would like to see next by the precision medicine movement is hospital providers and insurance payers incorporating precision medicine applications into clinical practice.
Bringing leading researchers together
According to Dr von Blanquet: “When it comes to the innovation, development and awareness of precision medicine, alliances like PMA are important for a variety of reasons. First of all, we believe that alliances help to develop best practice standards because they bring leading institutions together. Moreover, alliances also facilitate the sharing of knowledge and collaboration to bring innovation to the market. Also-as-in important, alliances enable the ability to communicate to key stakeholders the importance of creating awareness for precision medicine.
“In terms of what the future hold for PMA, our goal is to build a strong hospital provider network in Germany and Europe for precision medicine. Alongside this, at PMA we want to develop a White Paper for best practises in precision handling of the biology for precision medicine, as well as establish a communication platform for leading stakeholders in precision medicine.”