Public Release: 

Leading experts urge Europe to implement personalized medicine in healthcare

European Science Foundation

Strasbourg, France, 10 December, 2012: Dedicated funding and support is required to ensure personalised medicine can be implemented across Europe's healthcare systems, according to a new report issued by the European Science Foundation's (ESF) membership organisation for all medical research councils in Europe, the European Medical Research Councils (EMRC).

The report entitled Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen, brought together experts from a wide range of disciplines to identify the most pressing issues affecting the development and implementation of personalised medicine across Europe. Key stakeholders, from patient groups to regulators to industry and academia were consulted through a series of meetings designed to facilitate the discussion on the key issues.

Personalised medicine, a strategy based on individual phenotyping of profiles rather than the long established 'one-size-fits-all' approach identifies elements that predict the individuals' response to treatment and their predisposition to disease. This healthcare model places heavy emphasis on the maintenance and investment of these cohorts providing a healthcare system with a modern, prospective approach; an essential strategy for the analysis and understanding of disease over time in well characterised populations.

Professor Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton and a leading expert in the consultation commented: "Personalised medicine has become increasingly important in the future of healthcare. By targeting patients with specific treatment programmes tailored to the individuals needs."

Alongside Professor Holgate, the science committee responsible for compiling this report included: Professor Aarno Palotie, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, Finland; Professor Barbara Prainsack, Centre for Biomedicine & Society, Brunel University, United Kingdom; Professor Angela Brand, Institute for Public Health Genomics, Maastricht University, The Netherlands; and Professor Hans Lehrach, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany.

The report outlined a series of recommendations under four core headings:

  • 1. Data handling
    Comprehensive, accessible and interoperable datasets must be generated to support the development of a new disease taxonomy and allow for its ongoing refinement and application.

  • 2. Models and decision-making processes
    Models and decision-making processes must be revised to reflect a focus on the individual. This should happen at all levels, from assessment of the safety and efficacy of interventions, through HTA and reimbursement, to diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

  • 3. Interdisciplinarity, participation and translational research
    Emphasis must be placed on stakeholder participation, interdisciplinary interaction, public-private and precompetitive partnerships, and translational research in order to develop the frameworks that support the vision of personalised medicine and healthcare.

  • 4. Infrastructure and resources
    Dedicated funding and governmental support must be provided to ensure the availability of core infrastructure, including access to core technology and frameworks for education and training of professionals and the wider community.


Professor Liselotte Højgaard, the Chair of the European Medical Research l Councils (EMRC): "We hope that the recommendations in our report will now be taken up by stakeholders throughout Europe to ensure the successful introduction and sustainable implementation of personalised medicine."

These recommendations are outlined in the newly published Forward Look entitled: Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen. To view the full report, please click here.

Notes to Editors

For a copy of the report, to request interviews or more information please contact:

Emma Knott
Tel +44(0)20 3176 4715

The European Science Foundation (ESF) is an independent, non-governmental organisation that promotes cross-border collaboration in scientific research, research funding and science policy across Europe. The European Medical Research Councils (EMRC) was the membership organisation under the ESF of 37 medical research councils in 30 European countries. Its mission has been to promote innovative medical research and its clinical application towards improved human health.

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