The Regions4PerMed project, which has received funding from the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, was launched in the capital of the Lombardy Region towards the end of 2018 during the EAPM Congress.

It is geared towards interregional coordination for a fast and deep uptake of personalised health, and aims to align strategies and financial instruments, identify key investment areas, and release a European regional agenda in order to speed up the delivery of personalised health services to patients and citizens.

Regions4PerMeds expected impact will be a strengthening of links between European regions setting up or planning personalised medicine health-care approaches.

Key strategic areas look at regional challenges from the regulatory, economic, cultural, responsible research and innovation, and gender perspectives. 

EAPM’s Executive Director Denis Horgan, who will chair a session at the event (on research data management), said: “Co-ordinating regional policies and innovation programmes in personalised medicine is an urgent need. At EAPM we have worked hard on this with our SMART Outreach initiative – SMART stands for Smaller Member states And Regions Together – and have taken the personalised medicine philosophy out on the road.”

Horgan added: “As personalised medicine develops, a number of good practices are emerging, not least regionally, which, individually and collectively, offer insights into how to design and implement successful new models. The EUs regions are key to speeding the full integration of personalised medicine into Europes healthcare systems.”

Moving MEGA+ forward

The Alliance has been working long and hard on its MEGA+ plan, as a response to a clearly demonstrated willingness on the part of many member states, and the highly innovative regions within them, to collaborate when it comes to comprehensive data sharing in health care. 

A Declaration, signed in April 2018 by a swathe of EU countries, brought about a voluntary coordination of efforts to garner at least one million genomes by 2022.

Now, the MEGA+ initiative extends this process to all medial data, not just genomes, but to include imaging, eHealth apps, electronic health records, and more, all undertaken with the highest level of ethics and patient consent.

How the data is collected and how its quality can be assured are among the issues that need to be decided.

An over-riding issue is that the hurdles of healthcare data fragmentation, representation and organisational boundaries will need to be tackled for innovation in the field to succeed.

Ways need to be found, through collaboration and essential, agreed structures, to ensure no duplication, and bring about added value by building on existing activities.

And what is also urgently required is a common vision and purpose to make MEGA+ work optimally. Among other matters, the Milan event will take these issues forward while seeking workable solutions.

A to Z of breast cancer

The Bulgarian Alliance for Precision and Personalized Medicine, known as BAPPM, has been working in the arena of common cancers.

During its own country’s Presidency of the EU, last year, and in conjunction with EAPM, BAPPM hosted a conference entitled ‘Lung Cancer & Early Diagnosis: The Evidence Exists for Screening.

This took place in Sofia, in April, 2018 and the focus now turns to he most common cancer among women – breast cancer – and the implementation of European guidelines to treat the disease, as well as screening and early diagnosis.

The title of the conference is ‘Breast Cancer from A to Z’ and it will take place on 17 May, again in  the country’s capital Sofia.  Please see the following agenda.

A variety of topics will be covered at the event, such as access to early diagnosis and screening, precision diagnostics, pharmaceutical treatment – chemotherapy, target therapy, adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy –  as well as the role of an interdisciplinary team in the decision-making process and treatment choice.

The conference will pull together various stake-holders in the arena of personalised medicine drawn from healthcare policymakers, members of the health committee in the Bulgarian Parliament, patient groups, payers, healthcare professionals, industry, science, academic and research representatives.

Said BAPPM chair Dr. Jasmina Koeva-Balabanova: “Last year’s event on lung cancer was extremely successful and moved the agenda forward, not just in Bulgaria, but on a pan-EU basis, and we’re sure that we can do the same for breast cancer at the May event.”

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