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European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Annual Conference

Our CEO and Co-Founder Dr Thomas Stubbs spent the last week of November 2018 at the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine’s second annual Congress in Milan, where there’s been a real awakening for health care providers who are being urged to catch up with technology. We’re fortunate enough at Chronomics to be in the position where we can provide solutions so it was a pivotal week for Dr Tom Stubbs, our CEO and founder who was in attendance.

“We already know that, this year in Europe, there will be 3.9 new cancer patients, and 1.9 million will die,” said Ciaran Nicholl, of the Research Centre Ispra at the European Commission.

He was speaking which runs for three days in the capital of the Lombardy Region.

Nicholl also told attendees that inequalities in healthcare across Member States are “unacceptable”.

He added that we have great standards and best practices in Europe but we need to implement recommendations.

Ernst Hafen , of ETH Zurich, had previously said that: “We are ready to pay for a cup of coffee, no sweat. We have to realise that we have to pay for digital services,” and Nicholl added in the same session that “Europe is not good enough at unleashing the power and potential of the Big Data that we have.”

On stage at the same time, Robert Johnstone, former board member of the European Patient Forum, told attendees: “We have these wonderful science-based systems, but 20% of patients don’t take the medicine they are prescribed, ever. And within a year, 50% stop taking it.”

He also said that we assume that prevention is only for people who are not sick, “but prevention is an ongoing process. However, we are not educating or empowering people” in this regard.

“We have to start with the young people, we have to start with education,” he added.

In an earlier session at the EAPM event, the Under-secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of Health, Marcin Czec, told attendees that: “Poland belongs to the fastest ageing societies of the EU. Compulsory health insurance covers 98 percent of the population, and guarantees access to a broad range of health services.”

The minister added that personalised medicine should be an important element of an effective, patient-orientated healthcare system, and that its wider usage “is perfectly in line with patient care”.

And Christine Chomiene, of INCa in France said that: “To move forward, we have to innovate our innovation.”

In the same session, Michael Zaiac of Novartis told the audience: “The age of stratified medicine is well underway,” adding that the outcomes for patients have been encouraging.

“But we need to do more, and increase awareness with all stakeholders”, he said, conceding that there are varying rates of adoption of innovation across Europe.

The above sessions covered Europe as a global player, plus patients and the economics of healthcare in the 21st century.

Congress heard that in the first instance, improved healthcare supports economic activity. A healthier Europe will mean citizens spending less and less time in hospitals under expensive treatment regimes, often at a direct cost to the taxpayer, and it will also mean that people receiving the right treatment at the right time are more able to stay in the workplace, thus generating wealth.

A focus on research into new medicines and cutting-edge treatments will also create jobs – whether they be in research itself, education, design and manufacture of in-vitro products or within the pharmaceutical industry.

The road to better health must have personalised medicine as its destination. With the backing of the European Union, the bloc can work towards building a healthy and wealthy Europe, one worthy of its stated goals for generations to come.

In the second instance, personalised healthcare will need to start with prevention to be truly successful and individual. This will see it move from disease management to health management which will change the cost structures and prevent loss of quality life.

The way therapy is approved and subsidised will need significant modernisation. Individual responsibility in risk reduction and cost sharing/ insurance is foreseen to develop. The medical structures and citizen involvement will also need development to optimise the best use of new possibilities.

The first day in Milan saw a total of six topics, or tracks, running in parallel covering regional matters, diagnostics, education of healthcare professionals, access and genomics plus men’s health—a topic too few talk about.

The latter track covered areas such as lowering the risk and mortality rate of the most frequent cancer in men, setting the framework for political action and tools to realise this, and a multidisciplinary approach of early diagnosis, discussing the way forward.

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