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Future of Healthcare Q1 2022

Supporting research projects in personalised medicine

Dr Siobhan Roche

Director, Science for the Economy, Science Foundation Ireland

One of the areas of significant opportunity for Ireland is personalised medicine, an approach whereby physicians try to predict the most appropriate and effective treatment, or disease prevention approach, for an individual based on their genetic makeup and lifestyle.

We are now supporting research projects that are delivering outstanding science in the area of personalised medicine. These projects bring the skills and talent from different sectors together and have the potential to make a real impact on patient outcomes.

Motor neurone disease research

Precision ALS is an ambitious academic, clinical and industry research programme that will provide new insights in our understanding of motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It involves two SFI Research Centres – ADAPT and FutureNeuro – bringing together researchers in clinical science, data science and artificial intelligence (AI).

The researchers will work in partnership with TRICALS, an international consortium of leading ALS experts, patients and patient advocacy groups. Precision ALS will combine applied clinical research with cutting-edge data science to realise the power of AI towards new drug development in motor neuron disease.

We are now supporting research projects that are delivering outstanding science in the area of personalised medicine.

A new cancer consortium

Cancer affects more than 45,000 people in Ireland annually. In this area we are researching how genetic and other biological information is being used to develop new tests to diagnose cancer patients based on personal molecular cancer signatures. The results of which can inform individual treatment approaches.

Precision Oncology Ireland is a unique consortium of five Irish universities, six Irish cancer research charities and seven international companies, who have joined forces to tackle the challenge of developing personalised cancer treatments.

This consortium is similarly using a combination of biological, clinical and data science technologies to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and treatments. The ultimate goal is to improve healthcare outcomes through more effective, tailored treatment approaches.

Increasing capacity in personalised medicine

The shift towards personalised medicine will require the health sector to increase capability in areas such as data science, bioinformatics, computational biology, artificial intelligence and machine-learning.

We have considerable opportunities as a country to create fusion across our sectors such as life science, drug development, medical devices, tech, AI, etc. and shape the future of healthcare not only in Ireland, but internationally.

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