Queen’s University Belfast are leading the way in the fast-changing world of global healthcare. The University will work alongside the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM), bringing together global experts to broaden the reach of personalised medicine across the EU and beyond, and to discuss barriers to the integration of personalised medicine into healthcare.
Personalised medicine is an increasingly important part of the 21st century healthcare agenda. A move away from the more traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to the more individualised treatment and care of patients with a particular condition, personalised medicine recognises the uniqueness of a patient and their individual response to disease or predisposition to disease. Thanks to novel approaches such as whole genome sequencing, data analytics and bioinformatics, and wearable technology, personalised medicine is radically changing the global approach to healthcare.
Queen’s University plays a significant role on the international stage in this rapidly advancing area. Recognising this, the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine, the major pan European organisation dedicated to advancing a personalised health agenda and embedding it into European life sciences and healthcare activities, has chosen Belfast as the location for its Congress, which is an official event of the current Estonian Presidency of the EU. Entitled “Personalising Your Health: A Global Imperative!” this highly influential event will attract over 500 international delegates and experts to present exciting new data and discuss and debate key issues that will inform a personalised health agenda that will resonate locally, nationally and globally, in order to deliver better health for the citizens of the world.
Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translational Cancer Genomics in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s said: “Personalised medicine or precision health is increasingly important for researchers and clinicians around the world. It encompasses all areas of health from precision diagnostics involving genomic testing to precision nutrition involving dietary planning to meet an individual’s needs. Queen’s are at the forefront of many of these developments.”
During the four day event, a number of Queen’s researchers will showcase their personalised approach to tackling major global challenges such as eye disease, cystic fibrosis, renal disease and a number of cancers, as an integral part of the university’s health strategy, “Discovery to Recovery – Soil to Society.”
Professor Chris Elliott, founder of the Institute for Global Food Security and Pro Vice Chancellor at Queen’s will lead discussions on how a personalised approach to nutrition is urgently needed to boost the wellbeing of the population. Professor Elliott explains: “Individuals have very different food needs based on age, sex, health status among a host of factors. This illustrates the need to look at food and nutrition on an individual level, assessing how our bodies respond to what we consume and the health impact this may have.”
Professor Lawler will discuss how a focus on the genetic changes that take place inside cancer cells is fuelling a UK wide research effort in bowel cancer that is underpinning new approaches to diagnose and treat this common disease that afflicts over 450,000 Europeans each year. He added: “This event offers a unique opportunity to bring together key stakeholders across the medical and health sphere to share research findings and discuss practical ideas that will help influence the global health agenda.
“It is an honour for Queen’s and Belfast to be so heavily involved in this prestigious Congress, which is an official EU Presidency Event. It allows us to showcase our excellent research in Precision Medicine and Personalised Health and helps drive this agenda at a European and global level.”
Denis Horgan, Executive Director of EAPM, Brussels said: “We are delighted to be bringing our inaugural Congress to Belfast. Queen’s University has shown significant leadership in the area of personalised medicine in Europe and this Congress provides a vital platform for leading researchers in this field to share expertise and influence the future of this emerging area that has the potential to improve the lives of many.”
“The event will offer up valuable evidence and stakeholder opinion on which policy makers can base their decision making on how better to integrate personalised medicine into healthcare services in the EU and beyond,” he added.
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