Personalised treatments are strongly emerging in the medical world, as it is becoming increasingly clear that many factors together determine whether someone is responding well to a medicinal product. However, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has recently published a study that shows that it is still difficult to translate scientific knowledge into medical practice. Read the full report.
With personalised medicine, patients are treated based on their unique characteristics, such as genetic makeup. Because of their genetics for example, some people have a greater chance of serious side effects of certain medicines. Others are much more sensitive to a medicinal product and therefore need a different dose. However, it is a challenge to determine which drugs are good for a patient based on individual characteristics. Firstly, it must be shown that a tailored treatment is indeed useful and doctors must be convinced to apply it. Furthermore, it is often unclear whether genetic testing really improves treatment. These gaps hamper application in medical practice, while experiences obtained in this practice may provide new insights to improve the use of medicines.
The investigation was carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport. With the results, the Ministry wants to determine whether, and if so, on what points, their attention is needed to foster the use of personalised medicine in medical practice. The report thoroughly discusses Health-RI as one of the ongoing initiatives in personalised medicine. Health-RI is the Health Research Infrastructure initiative in which DTL plays an active role. Professor Jaap Heringa (VU, Head of Node of ELIXIR-NL) and Professor Ronald Stolk (UMCG, Chair of DTL’s Partner Advisory Committee) were both interviewed by the RIVM researchers.